Thursday, October 25, 2018
Mitchell M. Gans (Hofstra), Publicity Rights and the Estate Tax, 42 Colum. J.L. & Arts ___ (2018):
The estate tax treatment of publicity rights has played a role in the debate about the state law question whether such rights should be transferable at death. Some point to the estate tax as a reason for making publicity rights non-transferable. For if they are transferable, estate-tax inclusion could result. And, the argument goes, the estate or the beneficiaries could well be coerced into commercializing the rights in order to raise the money to pay the tax. Making them non-transferable would eliminate this possibility.
This article considers some of the connections between the federal estate tax and the state law treatment of publicity rights. It concludes with a suggestion about how the tax treatment of publicity rights at a more general level.