On Demand Audio

Protecting the Earnings of Child Performers: UTMA, UGMA and Coogan Trusts

(139 reviews)

Produced on September 13, 2016

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Course Information

Time 1h
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Wills, Trusts, & Estates

Course Description

Is a client’s child earning money in the entertainment field? If so, there are specific rules concerning the safeguarding and use of those earnings. The genesis of these restrictions was the shocking Hollywood celebrity case of Jackie Coogan – child star of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Kid” – who turned 21 and learned that his mother and stepfather had spent millions of his earnings. A lawsuit followed. The notoriety led California to institute laws requiring that money be held in trust for child performers, commonly referred to as a “Coogan Trust”.  New York now has similar rules. This course, led by attorney Spencer Reames, reviews the history, development and current requirements of the rules concerning child-performer earnings in California and New York.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Understand the history of the Jackie Coogan case and the creation of the first “Coogan laws”
  2. Review the basic requirements of child-performer earnings trusts
  3. Identify the specific requirements of a Coogan Blocked Trust under California law
  4. Detail the specific requirements of child-performer trusts in New York, including the related Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) provisions

Credit Information

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Spencer L. Reames

Farrell Fritz, P.C

Spencer L. Reames focuses on estate planning and litigation, representing clients throughout the New York metropolitan area in probate contests, contested accountings, discovery and other related proceedings. His practice includes conducting pretrial discovery, legal research and drafting motions


Grazia L.

Very interesting. Well done and I enjoyed history of the Coogan law

Robyn B.

Great course

Pamela R.

Great instructor! Took the class because he is effective. Course topic was novel and interesting.

Deanna M.

I loved the Coogan story. I didn't realize this was specific to performers, but very interesting.

Carolyne A.

Great program. Lots of good information, excellent comparison of relevant New York and California statutes.

Ruth G.

This guy is great!

Edna B.


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