Michele Mulrooney and Alan Epstein interviewed in the Daily Journal on celebrity estate planning

2 min

Venable partners Michele Mulrooney and Alan Epstein were interviewed in a Daily Journal Q&A on April 13, 2012 on the challenges and complexities of tax and estate planning for celebrities. Both attorneys work with celebrity clients throughout the year scheduling major transactions such as making a gift, a wealth transfer or selling a portion of the family business, all with an eye on tax consequences.

Commenting on the differences between entertainers and other types of clients, Epstein said, “The entertainment business is a very global business. There are United States productions being shot abroad. There's foreign talent working in the U.S. So there's a lot of cross-border activity - sometimes it's because of the nature of the content, and other times it's because of production incentives that lure activity to a certain jurisdiction. Any time talent crosses the border, there are tax issues that pop up. If it's a U.S. person working abroad, you have to analyze the extent to which the foreign taxes owing from a project can be claimed as a credit against their U.S. tax liability through a mechanism known as the foreign tax credit.”

Speaking about gift giving and donations in the entertainment industry, Mulrooney said, “There is significant charitable giving in the entertainment industry. I have several clients who have established family foundations or a donor-advised fund at a community foundation, and they get their children involved. They have formal foundation meetings where each child is given a certain amount of money. Maybe when they're younger we start out with a smaller amount - and we say, ‘Research charities, pick a charity and present it to the family.’ It gives kids a sense of giving back very early on, so that's really a fulfilling part of my practice.