Estate of Charles Schulz Still Making Money

Charles Schulz’s estate made $32.5 million in the past year. That placed third on the list of the highest-paid dead celebrities. Michael Jackson is number one and fellow cartoonist Theodor Geisel aka Dr. Seuss is number two.

Some of Schulz’s income is from the new Apple TV+ show “Snoopy in Space,” as well as classics like “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Wealth Advisor’s recent article “Decades After His Death The Estate Of Charles Schulz Is Still Making A TON Of Money” reports the Peanuts creator is consistently one of the highest-earning dead celebrities. Schulz himself is thought to have earned more than $1 billion during the comic strip’s unprecedented 50-year run.

Charles Schulz was born in 1922 in Minneapolis. He knew he wanted to be a cartoonist in kindergarten when he started drawing Popeye. By high school, he was submitting his original cartoons to his school paper, as well as local magazines. After his service in Europe during World War II, Schulz created a cartoon called “Li’l Folks” for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. His cartoons were noticed by United Feature Syndicate, a newspaper syndication company. They offered to syndicate Schulz’s cartoons to their national network of newspapers with one condition: they wanted him to change the name of his comic strip to Peanuts. Schulz hated that, but United Feature Syndicate was already running a comic with a very similar name, and this wasn’t an opportunity he could pass up.

The first Peanuts cartoon ran in 1950, when Schulz was 28 years old. That first year, just seven newspapers ran Peanuts. However, by 1953, Peanuts was a hit, and Schulz was earning $30,000 a year (about $292,000 today). At its zenith, Peanuts was syndicated to more than 2,600 newspapers in 71 countries and 21 languages every day. The comic strip characters also made a fortune with merchandise and endorsements. In the 1980s, Schulz was the highest-paid celebrity in the world by a wide margin. He made $30 million in royalties (about $65 million today). From 1990 until his death in 2000, he earned $40 million a year.

Over nearly 50 years, Schulz drew 17,897 published Peanuts strips. The last of his cartoons was published on Feb. 12, 2000, one day after he died. Remarkably, Schulz wrote and drew every single comic himself. When he died, his will said that no new Peanuts comic strips could be drawn by another cartoonist. So far, his wishes have been honored.

Reference: Wealth Advisor (Dec. 8, 2020) “Decades After His Death The Estate Of Charles Schulz Is Still Making A TON Of Money”

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Who Makes Money from Roald Dahl and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

The heartwarming drama is fictional, even though the two writers did once meet, says The Express in its recent article entitled “Roald Dahl inheritance: Who is raking in fortunes made from Dahl books & films?”

Roald was a mere lad and Beatrix Potter was in her 60s, when the two authors briefly met one another. She was his early inspiration. Dahl’s books and films are classics and are constantly being revamped and reimagined 30 years after his death.

But with Roald no longer around, who gets the money from his books and films? Roald Dahl died in 1990 at age 74 and was believed to have a net worth of $10 million. After Roald’s death, his widow Felicity inherited the majority of the $3.75 million he left in his will. This is worth nearly $6.75 million in today’s dollars.

The lion’s share of his income from films, books and merchandise is managed by his estate.

The latest data from Roald Dahl’s estate shows annual pre-tax profits of about $17 million in 2018.

This income is from television and film deals, royalties, fancy-dress costumes and a line of baby toiletries.

Every year, fans commemorate Roald Dahl Day to celebrate his stories and their characters. Held on the anniversary of his birth—September 13—his books, films and characters are celebrated.

The author spent four hours every day writing stories from his garden shed. In all, Roald wrote at least 36 books, including James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The Twits and Fantastic Mr Fox. His works continue to be popular for film and stage adaptations.

A new version of The Witches, starring Anne Hathaway, was released earlier this year, while Hollywood stars including Johnny Depp, Mark Rylance and Danny DeVito have all appeared in film versions of his stories.

Reference: The Express (UK) (Dec. 12, 2020) “Roald Dahl inheritance: Who is raking in fortunes made from Dahl books & films?”

 

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Did John le Carré Have an Estate Plan?

John le Carré, the well-known author of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, passed away recently. He was born in 1931 and spent time working for the Security Service and the Secret Intelligence Service in Great Britain during the 1950s and 1960s. He used this material for many of his best-selling novels.

Wealth Advisor’s recent article entitled “John le Carré dead: What was famous spy novelist’s net worth? Author’s fortune unveiled” reports that the author started working for the secret services, while studying German in Switzerland in the late 1940s. After a few years of teaching at Eton, he joined the British Foreign Service as an intelligence officer. During his career at MI5, he was inspired by his colleague (novelist John Bingham) to begin penning novels using the pseudonym of John le Carré.

Jonny Geller, CEO of the Curtis Brown Group described le Carré as an “undisputed giant of English literature.”

“He defined the cold war era and fearlessly spoke truth to power in the decades that followed … I have lost a mentor, an inspiration and most importantly, a friend.”

“We will not see his like again.”

John Le Carré’s net worth is estimated at $100 million.

George Smiley was le Carré’s most famous character. The character appeared in the author’s 1961 debut, Call for the Dead, then in the 1962’s A Murder of Quality.

By the time Smiley was featured in the novelist’s third book, le Carré’s was famous.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold was deemed “the best spy story I have ever read” by fellow author Graham Greene.

Three Smiley novels followed in the 1970s: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy, and Smiley’s People. The novels were turned into TV movies and feature films, adding to le Carré’s considerable fortune. Most recently, The Night Manager, in 2016, starred Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie.

The latest adaptation was The Little Drummer Girl in 2018, with Alexander Skarsgårdr and Florence Pugh.

Reference: The Wealth Advisor (Dec. 15, 2020) “John le Carré dead: What was famous spy novelist’s net worth? Author’s fortune unveiled”

 

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Did Robert Redford Have a Business Exit Plan?

Motley Fool’s recent article titled “What Robert Redford’s Sale of Sundance Can Teach Investors About Exit Planning” says that, in announcing the sale, Redford told the Salt Lake Tribune that he’s been thinking of selling for several years. However, he wanted to find the right partners. Broadreach and Cedar plan to upgrade the resort, add hotel rooms and build a new inn. The companies have also said that they will keep the resort sustainable and practicing measured growth, as well as also continuing to host the Sundance Film Festival.

The 2,600-acre resort has 1,845 acres of land saved from future development through a conservation easement and protective covenants. The 84-year-old actor has had a lifelong interest in the environment and in land stewardship. Redford and his family have also arranged with Utah Open Lands to create the Redford Family Elk Meadows Preserve at the base of Mt. Timpanogos. The gift will reduce Robert Redford ‘s tax liability on his estate.

Both Broadreach and Cedar have extensive hospitality experience, but neither looks to have much ski resort experience. However, they’re working with Bill Jensen, an industry legend, who recently left his role as CEO of Telluride Ski and Golf Resort in Colorado.

Business exit and succession planning can be difficult—in part, because people don’t like to address such unwelcome topics. Most investors don’t have the luxury of waiting years to find the right buyer, but the Redford deal does show that planning ahead may be critical to creating a mechanism that supports the vision for the property.

When selling a large investment property, you must first understand why you’re selling, and your desired end result. Of course, a return on investment is nice, but there may be other considerations, like in Redford’s case. Another key is ascertaining the updated worth of what you’re selling. Get a valuation, especially with an irreplaceable asset.

The structure of the sale is important. You will likely be liable for tax on your capital gains, so ask an attorney. If you’re also structuring your estate plans at the same time, you’ll need to know what amount you can give and what your heirs may have to pay. Talk to an experienced estate planning attorney to be certain that you’re covering all the bases.

Reference: Motley Fool (Dec. 12, 2020) “What Robert Redford’s Sale of Sundance Can Teach Investors About Exit Planning”

 

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What’s Going on with the Estate of Kenny Rogers ?

TMZ reported that the estate of the late Kenny Rogers alleged that Kelly Junkermann convinced the country and pop singer to allow him to film his last tour.

Kenny supposedly agreed but did so under the strict condition that the footage be only for personal use.

Rogers’ estate now says that Junkermann disregarded that agreement and attempted to commercially release a DVD called “Kenny Rogers — The Gambler’s Last Deal.”

Wealth Advisor’s recent article entitled “Kenny Rogers estates sues longtime friend over unauthorized tour DVD” reports that the lawsuit states that Junkermann consistently asked for approval to use the content he’d collected but was always denied.

Regardless of this rejection, he moved forward and inked a deal to distribute the footage.

The lawsuit states that the tour footage is filled with “priceless and irreplaceable audio, video, photographic and audiovisual content that were compiled over the course of Kenny Rogers’ decades-long career.”

One of the reasons the estate wants Junkermann’s DVD blocked, is that it has its own DVD of the final tour and doesn’t want fans to be confused. The estate also says that Junkermann’s DVD isn’t up to Kenny’s high standards.

TMZ reported that the estate blocked the release of Junkermann’s DVD earlier in 2020, but it cost nearly $300,000 in legal fees to be accomplished.

The Rogers estate is formally suing for damages and for an injunction blocking the DVD from Junkermann from ever coming out.

The country music icon, who passed away in March at age 81, announced his Gambler’s Last Deal Tour in 2015 and completed it two years later. Officially, the star’s last show was in October 2017 at a star-studded farewell concert in Nashville. However, he played a few shows after that, until he canceled all remaining performances after April 2018.

Junkermann’s DVD was actually set for presale in late 2019, but links to online vendors and video trailers are no longer working.

Junkermann also had a forward written for the package.

Reference: Wealth Advisor (Dec. 1, 2020) “Kenny Rogers estates sues longtime friend over unauthorized tour DVD”

 

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The Most Common Myths about COVID Vaccine

The unprecedented speed of the development of the vaccine to fight COVID-19 has led to several misconceptions and rumors that have created some skepticism among some Americans. AARP’s recent article entitled “7 Myths About Coronavirus Vaccines” provides some of the most prevalent COVID vaccine myths and the truth about the medicines that will fight COVID-19:

Myth #1: If you’ve had COVID-19 already, you don’t need to get vaccinated. Unsure. It’s not certain how long you are protected from COVID-19 after a previous infection (natural immunity).

Myth #2: Once you receive the COVDI vaccine, you’re immune for life. Perhaps. It’s not yet clear how long immunity from a coronavirus vaccine will last and if it’ll need to be administered more than once, or even on a regular basis, like the flu shot.

Myth #3: You can stop wearing your mask after you get vaccinated. Wrong. The COVID vaccine is just one tool that can help slow the spread of the coronavirus. However, we still need to end the pandemic, which will require mask wearing, social distancing, frequent handwashing and testing. It will take months to get the majority of Americans who want a coronavirus vaccine vaccinated, and until a good percentage of the population develops resistance to COVID-19 and so-called herd immunity is reached, the virus will continue to spread and sicken people. Protection also isn’t immediate. We also don’t know if the vaccine will block virus transmission.

Myth #4: The vaccines use a live version of the coronavirus. No. None of the vaccines in late-stage development in the U.S. use the live virus that causes COVID-19, the CDC says. The COVID vaccine may cause side effects, such as injection site pain, fatigue, headaches, chills and muscle aches.

Myth #5: mRNA vaccines can change your DNA. No. Two of the four COVID vaccine candidates in late-stage U.S. trials (the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which was authorized by the federal government on Dec. 11, and the Moderna/NIH vaccine) use a new type of technology called messenger RNA, or mRNA for short. It is like an instruction manual that tells your body to build an immune response to a specific infection.  There are now no licensed mRNA vaccines in the U.S., but a myth on social media claims that mRNA vaccines can alter human DNA. However, the CDC says this is not true.

Myth #6: You’re not required to get both doses of the two-dose vaccines. That’s incorrect. All but one of the vaccines require two doses that are administered a few weeks apart. Skipping the second shot isn’t wise. The CDC explains that the first shot starts building protection, then the second shot boosts that protection and “is needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer.”

Myth #7: If you got the flu shot recently, you don’t need a coronavirus vaccine. Not true! It is accurate that the flu and COVID-19 share a similar list of symptoms, but they’re two different illnesses, caused by two different viruses. You should get both types of vaccines.

Reference: AARP (Dec. 14, 2020) “7 Myths About Coronavirus Vaccines”

 

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Caregiving – Are You a Super-Ager?

Caregiving – In recent years, scientific research has explored the secrets of those in their 80s and 90s whose brains function well — by some measures, as well as the minds of people many years younger.

Researchers now call these high-functioning older people “super-agers,” and they’re learning more about what makes them special. Some factors are genetic, but many are things that we can control.

Money Talks News’s recent article entitled “5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’” gives us five things you can do to keep your aging brain sharp.

  1. Stay positive. It may be cliche but staying positive is important. In addition, stress associated with a negative outlook seems to initiate significant changes in our bodies that can speed up aging, by causing cell damage.

Elissa Epel of the Aging, Metabolism, and Emotions Center at the University of California San Francisco says, “What’s emerged is how much our mental filter — how we see the world — determines our reality and how much we will suffer when we find ourselves in difficult situations in life.”

  1. Stay in good company. Loneliness and isolation can create physically damaging stress, so stay in contact with friends.
  2. Get in shape. One of the better-understood aspects of aging well is the importance of sleep, exercise and diet. The UCSF researchers have seen physical evidence in the brain that higher levels of exercise and a Mediterranean-style diet make people more resilient to aging. It also keeps us thinking faster and more clearly.

“As we get older, when we see declines in memory and other skills, people tend to think that’s part of normal aging,” says a UCSF blog post. “It’s not. It doesn’t have to be that way.”

Some foods are also better for your brain health as you get older, such as whole berries and fresh vegetables.

  1. Try some meditation. The researchers conducted an experiment, where they placed about 24 people in a month-long intensive meditation retreat. They monitored personality traits, anxiety, depression and some microscopic physical markers tied to mental and physical age called “telomeres.” These are caps at the end of chromosomes. They shorten naturally as we age. Shorter telomeres in midlife can predict an early onset of heart disease, dementia, some cancers and other age-related illnesses.

According to the UCSF, “At the end of the retreat, the participants’ telomere length had increased significantly, and participants with the highest initial levels of anxiety and depression showed the most dramatic changes over the course of the study.”

  1. Try something new. That may be a new hobby or reading a good book. Research shows that there are clear cognitive benefits to exploring new things. Research even found that video games don’t actually rot your brain — they preserve it!

Studies also suggested solving word and number puzzles can delay the memory loss linked to dementia by more than 2½ years and can even preserve memory and cognitive function better than some medications. So never stop learning — or playing and become a “Super-Ager”!

Reference: Money Talks News (Nov. 11, 2020) “5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’”

 

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How Did Country Star Hal Ketchum Die?

Country star Hal Ketchum, who found fame in the ’1990s with the critically acclaimed album “Past The Point of Rescue,” passed away at home, according to a report in The New York Post entitled “Country singer Hal Ketchum dead at 67 after battle with dementia.”

Hal Ketchum ’s wife Andrea shared the news on his Facebook page, writing: “With great sadness and grief, we announce that Hal passed away peacefully last night at home due to complications of dementia. “May his music live on forever in your hearts and bring you peace. Andrea.”

Ketchum was diagnosed with acute transverse myelitis, an ailment of the spinal column, which forced him to relearn basic tasks, such as how to walk and play the guitar.

However, he continued to record and would often hit the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. Ketchum sold more than five million records in his career. His two most famous songs were “Small Town Saturday Night” and “Hearts Are Gonna Roll.”

He has had his songs recorded by many artists, including Trisha Yearwood and Neal Diamond. Hal Ketchum earned five million-air awards from BMI, acknowledging those songs that have been broadcast over one million times.

In 2019 his wife announced he was suffering from early on-set senile dementia and would no longer be touring.

“Dementia is an exhausting and confusing illness and now it’s time for Hal to stay home with loved ones,” she shared, saying that he was glad to be at home with friends and family.

Dementia is more frequently found in people over the age of 65. However, it can also affect younger people. Early onset of the disease can start when people are in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. Treatment and early diagnosis can slow the progression of the disease and maintain mental function.

Ketchum’s family organized a benefit concert in January 2020 to help with medical bills and raised over $20,000.

“Hal has sung his last tune for us on this earthly plane of existence,” read the description of the concert, according to The Sun.

“He can no longer tour or make records to support his family. Now it’s time for us to step up and help with the almost insurmountable medical bills and living expenses that are piling up.”

Ketchum became an addict at 15 after losing his mom to MS. He started with alcohol and moved on to drugs, including cocaine. However, he became sober in 1997, after spending a month at the Betty Ford Clinic. He married his wife Andrea in 2014.

Reference: New York Post (Nov. 24, 2020) “Country singer Hal Ketchum dead at 67 after battle with dementia”

 

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How Is Truman Capote ’s Estate Handling a Possible Sequel to ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’?

A complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court is to decide if Truman Capote ’s estate has the right to do a prequel or sequel to “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, or even a television series inspired by the 1961 film classic.

The issue boils down to who has ownership of Truman Capote’s 1958 novella, upon which the movie was based. Prior to his death, Capote reportedly set up a charitable trust that named Alan Schwartz as the trustee.

Fox Business’ recent article entitled “’Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ follow-up plans now the subject of a legal dispute with Paramount and Truman Capote estate,” says that the complaint states that when he died in 1984, Capote’s estate entered into an agreement with Paramount Pictures that let the studio option a new project based on the novel.

However, there was a time limit on the studio’s right to develop a project, before it would revert back to Schwartz and the charity.

“In 1991, Plaintiff and the Capote Estate entered into an agreement with Paramount, whereby Paramount optioned certain sequel and prequel rights, among others, with respect to the film,” states the complaint. “The agreement provided that, if a motion picture was not produced within a certain amount of time, the rights would revert back to Plaintiff.”

The plaintiff in the case argues that the studio no longer has any claim to the property, other than to profit off the 1961 movie because its window to do anything related to “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” has closed. However, Paramount says that it maintains the rights to the movie because it was under no obligation to produce a film and spent $300,000 for the right to have that option.

The plaintiff states that the reversion of ownership did take place because under the old copyright law, if Capote died during the initial 28-year term, the right to renew the copyright would have passed to statutory heirs.

The lawsuit goes on to discuss the negotiations for the charity to produce a TV series based on the story. Paramount purported is fielding numerous, potentially lucrative bids to produce something. However, Paramount has raised its objections and is said to want nothing short of a motion picture. As a result of that and the legal dispute, all negotiations have reportedly ceased.

Reference: Fox Business (Nov. 5, 2020) “’Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ follow-up plans now the subject of a legal dispute with Paramount and Truman Capote estate”

 

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Medicare Advantage, review your Medicare Advantage Plan ?

This fall, seniors have the opportunity to change their Medicare plan coverage. However, very few do this. In fact, less than half of beneficiaries (43%) say they review or compare Medicare coverage options annually, according to an analysis of data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Money Talks News’ recent article entitled “Most Seniors Are Making This Medicare Mistake” says the time to make these comparisons is now. Medicare open enrollment runs until December 7.

There are two primary types of Medicare: traditional Medicare, which is the government-managed program also called “Original Medicare.” There are also Medicare Advantage plans, which are all-in-one alternatives offered by private insurers. In the fall open enrollment period, seniors with traditional Medicare can add a Medicare Part D stand-alone drug plan to their coverage or change their existing Part D plan. They can also switch from traditional Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan.  Those with Medicare Advantage can also change their existing Medicare Advantage plan during open enrollment, or they can switch from Medicare Advantage to traditional Medicare.

Both Medicare Advantage and Part D plans vary in cost and coverage because these plans are offered by private insurance companies that contract with the federal Medicare program. As the Kaiser Family Foundation writes:

Plans often change from one year to the next, which could lead to unexpected and avoidable costs for beneficiaries who do not review their options annually. Plan changes can also lead to disruptions for beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage plans, if their doctors do not remain in their plan’s network from one year to the next, or if their drug plan no longer covers one of their medications, or makes a change in their pharmacy network, or increases costs for covered drugs.

Again, only a small percentage of Medicare beneficiaries switch plans each year, according to the research. Either recipients are satisfied with their coverage or they’re missing out on more affordable or more appropriate coverage — or both — because they don’t shop around.

Medicare can be confusing, especially if you’re new to the federal health insurance program reserved for seniors and people with certain disabilities.

If you miss your first enrollment period, it can be costly. If you don’t enroll at 65, it can trigger permanent financial penalties.

Ask an experienced elder law attorney about your Medicare issues and questions.

Reference: Money Talks News (Nov. 9, 2020) “Most Seniors Are Making This Medicare Mistake”

 

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