Wednesday, April 02, 2008

"Recognizing a descendible postmortem property right has federal estate tax consequences that state legislators appear not to have considered"

In the Yale Law Journal "Pocket Part," Mitchell Gans, Bridget Crawford, and Jonathan Blattmachr look at the estate tax implications of the recently enacted California publicity rights legislation:

"Legislators, proponents of these laws, and legal commentators have overlooked two significant federal estate tax consequences of these new state law property rights. First, a descendible right of publicity likely will be included in a decedent’s gross estate for federal estate tax purposes. Second, the estate tax value of rights of publicity easily could exceed the estate’s liquid assets available to pay taxes. These tax concerns could be eliminated, however, by rewriting the statutes to limit a decedent’s ability to control the disposition of any postmortem rights of publicity."

Similar legislation is still pending in New York.