Attorney Steven F. Bills comments on news item in www.Yahoo.com about Robin Williams restricted exploitation of his image for 25 Years after death.
It appears to me that what Robin Williams was doing was protecting his family from the government. The IRS is constantly inventing ways to overvalue the estates of wealthy people in this country. In this case, they are trying to assert that his name and likeness are worth millions of dollars without any ability to prove that or more importantly value it. The IRS is probably using some absurd valuation method to prove its case and it amounts to nothing more than an invented imaginary asset.
The method that Williams’ estate attorneys devised to circumvent the IRS is very smart in that gifts to charities are a deduction from your estate value for tax purposes. In other words, the family doesn’t have to pay any tax on that asset so the rest of the estate can go to the family like Williams wanted it to rather than having to use the rest of his money to pay the tax on the overinflated IRS invented imaginary asset. So if the estate gave the imaginary asset to a charity or charities as the case may be, then the whole IRS argument goes up in smoke.
The attorneys were quite thorough because if the initial charity they set up failed in court, then there was a backup plan of using other more well known and established charities that had passed muster previously with the IRS. So in terms of planning for this assault from the IRS, I give the deceased superstar and his attorneys five stars out of five for planning and execution. If everyone else did the careful planning of their estates that Robin Williams and his estate planning attorneys did, then there would be a lot less pain, aggravation and litigation for heirs when a loved one dies. Steve Bliss…….