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Sacramento Estate Planning Attorney

Estate of Marilyn Monroe's makeup artist to sell off photographs

Marilyn Monroe's life on and off the screen captivated people in California and across the country. Her enduring fame is proved by the recent movie, My Week with Marilyn, which earned lead actress Michelle Williams an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. But other examples of Monroe's continued popularity abound.

For example, a number of unreleased photographs of the actress will be sold at auction later this month. The photos come from the estate of her longtime personal makeup artist and friend. Also included in the auction sale will be some of the man's personal effects related to Monroe, such as a gold money clip that she bought him at Tiffany's. Sales from a deceased person's estate are not unusual, but can raise questions about whether they were part of the overall estate plan.

The man died 18 years ago in 1994. Details are not available on what sort of estate planning documents, if any, the man had in place when he passed away. The sale of presumably valuable Marilyn Monroe memorabilia could indicate that the estate is in need of money. In fact, some of the photographs could turn out to be very valuable, because buyers will receive not just a picture, but the copyright along with it. A popular photograph could earn the purchaser handsome royalties each year.

How one's estate is distributed is a matter of personal preference. But some may want particularly valuable or sentimental objects to be passed on to close loved ones or perhaps a museum instead of ending up in the hands of the highest bidder. Proactive estate planning can ensure that a person's wishes are fulfilled after death.

Source: MSNBC.com, "Never-before-seen Marilyn Monroe photos up for auction," Randee Dawn, Mar. 16, 2012.

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My Sacramento law practice, Michael A. Sawamura, Attorney at Law, focuses on wills, trusts and estate planning law in addition to business law and corporate defense services. My clients include professionals, government employees, small businesses, blue-collar workers and national corporations.

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