Even celebrities need to plan ahead. This is what George Lucas, the creator of the ‘Star Wars’ films series, has been working on lately. Lucas has decided to sell his company, LucasFilm, to Disney for $4.05 billion in cash and stock. Many financial experts believe that the 68-year-old Lucas was purposely making an estate planning move when he decided to sell his company.
By deciding to sell his company now, Lucas is helping his family avoid the legal tangle that could occur when his loved ones must decide what to do with his multibillion dollar film empire. Many experts believe this was a wise move, since none of his three adopted daughters plan to take the reins of LucasFilm. This will make the task of dividing the company after Lucas has passed away much simpler to handle, since more of his assets will be easier to transfer.
It is also good timing, according to some experts. Advisers note that capital gains taxation and taxes on sale of assets are set to increase, beginning in January. Currently, the long-term capital gains tax for assets is 15 percent at Lucas’s income tax bracket, which is the 25 percent taxation level. The capital gains taxes for those in the 10 percent and 15 percent tax brackets are currently zero. The rates are set to increase to 20 percent and 10 percent, respectively, next year.
Some believe that Lucas was also attempting to ensure that the Star Wars series will continue to develop. Disney claims it plans to release ‘Star Wars Episode 7’ in 2015 to theaters all over the world. Disney also says it plans to create more movies every two or three years. Lucas stated that he believed his company would be better suited being a part of a larger entity.
With the proceeds garnered from the large sale, Lucas can make another smart estate planning move by creating trusts for his daughters. With the changes set to occur with the estate tax, it may be a good time for many people in Florida to consider plans for their estate. However, one may wish to consult a legal professional for advice on what estate planning techniques would be a good fit, particularly in view of the rapidly changing climate concerning tax exemptions and rates.