This article reprint appeared in the January 2022 issue of Estate Planning magazine. What is the value of a celebrity’s name and image at death? Since name and image is likely an asset that’s includible in an individual’s estate, swings in its value could have dramatic estate tax consequences. Specifically, the post-mortem right of publicity (ROP) allows an executor or heir to exploit a deceased individual’s persona. The ROP is governed by state law, which has resulted in a patchwork of different laws across the country. By examining the long-awaited Tax Court decision in the Estate of Michael J. Jackson and comprehensively reviewing state laws across the U.S., this article analyzes how to value and plan for the post-mortem ROP, including how to help minimize estate tax consequences and maximize value for heirs.

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