On Tuesday, it was announced that George Lucas-creator of the Star Wars films-agreed to sell his company LucasFilm to Disney for a total of $4.05 billion in cash and stock. Estate planning experts have said that the agreement was a wise decision on Lucas' part, since cashing out now allows him to remove from his family the burden of managing his empire once he's passed on.
Selling his business, experts say, allows Lucas to focus in his remaining years on handing charitable matters, especially Edutopia and the George Lucas Education Foundation, which Lucas founding back in 1991. Lucas has said in the past that he will be dedicating most of his wealth to improving education.
By selling his business, Lucas will allow his children to avoid having to manage their inheritance, as well as avoid the possibility of going through litigation over division of inheritance. Another benefit, likely by design, is that Lucas will have a lower capital gains tax rate. In January, tax rates for the sale of assets held more than one year are set to rise.
Lucas' creative vision is also in good hands with Disney, which plans to release "Star Wars Episode 7" in 2015, and additional films every two or three years.
Lucas' plans allows for the possibility that, should he decide to set up trusts for his children, there will be a steady income to do so form many generations. No doubt, he was working with perspicacious financial and estate planners.
Source: MarketWatch, "George Lucas's Jedi estate planning," Quentin Fottrell, November 1, 2012