Posts In "Trusts and Estates"

Meet Five Celebrities Who Have Had Worse Tax Days Than Yours

In celebration of Tax Day today, we here at Law Law Land offer tribute to our favorite celebrity/IRS run-ins.  Now, lest you think this is just another list airing dirty celebrity tax laundry, think again.  This is a classy publication, as you well know, so if you’re looking for dirt on which celebrities owe what, look elsewhere. . . like here, or here, or here.  Instead, on this national day of tax collection, Law Law Land is pleased recognize five (or more) of our favorite celebrity tax stories of all time… so far.

Honorable Mention:  Timothy Geithner

In our Honorable Mention category of “Really, Are You Kidding Me?,” we recognize former Treasury Secretary (i.e., head of the U.S. Treasury, the folks you make that tax check out to) Timothy Geithner, who underpaid his personal federal income taxes from 2001 to 2004 by failing to report and pay social security and self-employment tax on income received from the International Monetary Fund.  Mr. Former Secretary subsequently amended his returns since he “should have been more careful.”  We imagine he regretted his “unintentional” decision not to report that income when appearing before the Senate Finance Committee during his confirmation hearings to control the United States’ piggy bank.

Honorable Mention:  Nick Diaz

In our Honorable Mention category of “How Dumb Can You Be?,” the award goes to MMA fighter Nick Diaz, who recently announced during a post-match press conference that he has “never paid taxes in his life” and “is probably going to jail.”  Well, if Nick had only read about some of the other people on this list, then he definitely would have seen that coming! Continue reading the full story . . . »

Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves, and Money for My Tax Lien

With the holiday season upon us, we all have so much to be thankful for: our health, happiness, Amazon Prime shipping, and — if you’re Lindsay Lohan — an extra $100k from your Uncle Charlie* (Sheen) to help you out of your tax troubles with your Uncle Sam.

That’s right: ‘tis a season of giving and, like any holiday season, it will be filled with scrooges. The odd thing is that the scrooge Bah-Humbugging a gift is usually the giver, not the receiver. Maybe Lindsay is just not into the holiday spirit, but multiple reports have surfaced this week that Lindsay has yet to say, or even text, thank you to Charlie for his generous gift of $100,000 (maybe Charlie should have helped with her phone bill first). [Update: Lindsay finally thanked/apologized to Charlie, citing a “broken phone” and “lost contacts” for the delay — the modern social equivalent of “the dog ate my homework.”] Lindsay reportedly owes more than $200,000 in back income taxes, interest and penalties to the IRS, and Sheen had reportedly gifted Lindsay the money to help her pay off her IRS tax lien. Continue reading the full story . . . »

A Lesson in Trust Law, or, What Happens When a Guy Makes His Girlfriend His Daughter to Avoid Paying the Parents of the Guy He Killed

Most days, this blog is all about analyzing entertainment news stories.  Today, it’s just about analyzing an entertaining news story.

Forty-eight year old Florida billionaire John Goodman (owner of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, not Roseanne’s TV husband) recently shocked courts and bloggers alike with the headline-grabbing adoption of his 42-year-old girlfriend, Heather Hutchins, making Heather his eldest (and creepiest) of three children.  But if the fact of a 48-year-old man adopting his adult girlfriend as his daughter doesn’t give you the heebie-jeebies, here’s betting the reason he did so will.

Goodman is currently facing both criminal DUI manslaughter charges and a wrongful death civil action for causing the death of 23-year-old Scott Wilson, who drowned when his car overturned and plunged into a canal after being struck by Goodman’s Bentley in February 2010.  (Of course he was driving a Bentley.)  Goodman could forfeit a significant portion of his net worth should the jury find against him and award punitive damages in the wrongful death case.  But even if Wilson’s family wins a massive judgment against Goodman, they can’t take from what he doesn’t own — and “what he doesn’t own,” says Florida Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley (who is presiding over the wrongful death suit against Goodman), includes a $100-million irrevocable trust, created all the way back in 1991, for the benefit of Goodman’s “children.”

Observers have speculated that Goodman — knowing that his money may soon become the Wilsons’ money once their lawsuit is finished — adopted Hutchins as a way to indirectly access a fortune which the Wilsons cannot.  In other words, Goodman’s maneuver seemingly isn’t so much about making Hutchins a wealthy woman as it is about keeping himself a wealthy man.  The head-spinning development caused even Judge Kelley to observe that the court was entering a “legal twilight zone.”  So what is really going on here? Continue reading the full story . . . »

Hailee Steinfeld Owns Hollywood…But Who Owns Hailee Steinfeld?

[Ed. Note: Today's post opens up our week of Oscar coverage. On a Friday. Who are you to judge our calendar-related choices? Drop by next week for more posts addressing all the burning, tangentially Oscar-related questions you probably never thought to ask!]

At 14 years of age, Hailee Steinfeld is this year’s youngest Oscar nominee, receiving the nod for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mattie Ross in the Coen Brothers’ adaptation of True Grit. With her huge role and Oscar recognition, it appears as if young Hailee owns Hollywood at the moment. But who owns Hailee?

Child celebrities have long taken the world by storm, and while their personalities (and, sometimes, their egos) can seem larger than life, we often forget that they are still just children. As such, they are not masters of their own domain. Justin Bieber may be able to make young girls the world over cry on command, but just like every other child in America, the Biebster needed his mom’s permission before cutting off his iconic mop.

The age of majority in most U.S. states is 18. Until then, kiddies, mommy and daddy functionally own you. They control where you live, where you go to school, who you can hang out with and pretty much every other aspect of your life. On rare occasions, children become “emancipated minors,” meaning they break hold from parental bondage, usually by getting married, joining the armed forces, or going to court to ask for their freedom. Until you turn 18 or emancipate yourself, however, your parents control whether or not you can work, including acting and singing. And that has significant implications for child stars like Hailee Steinfeld. Continue reading the full story . . . »

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