Stephen Sondheim leaves the rights to his works to the trust

Stephen Sondheim leaves the rights to all of his works – including his contributions to musicals like “Sweeney Todd” and “Into the Woods”, as well as any unfinished shows – to a trust fund will manage his assets.

The trust will now determine what happens to the famous composer and lyricist’s intellectual property, as well as all other assets he left behind when he died last fall.

The plan to dispose of Sondheim’s estate is described in a probate petition signed last month and filed in Sondheim’s will in the New York Representative Court. Previously reported records by The New York Post.

The probate petition states that the estimated value of SondheimHis personal fortune at the time of his death was between $500,000 and $75 million, but the three estate attorneys advise caution when interpreting those numbers, which they say are often estimates. preliminary and will not reflect the value of any assets Sondheim has placed in. a belief throughout his life.

“$75 million is the estimated ceiling of the estate in his name, transferred in a will to the Stephen J. Sondheim Revocable Trust,” said T. Randolph Harris, a partner at law firm McLaughlin & Stern, said when asked to help interpret the records. “While it is possible his estate contains other assets that are not transferable under the will, it appears that the $75 million in probate documents filed with the court is the bulk of his estate. ”

Sondheim, who spent much of the pandemic at his country home in Roxbury, Conn., died in Connecticut on November 26. The cause of death, according to a death certificate, was cardiovascular disease.

Court filings include two documents – a will, written in 2017 with estate attorney Loretta A. Ippolito, leaving all of her assets in the recoverable trust, and a petition probate, compiled by Sondheim’s lawyer and longtime friend, F. Richard Pappas. , which lists the beneficiaries of that trust.

Alison Arden Besunder, a partner at Goetz Fitzpatrick, says relying on a revocable trust is a common estate planning technique. “Among other benefits, a revocable trust would give privacy to public figures and celebrities in managing their affairs,” she said.

Beneficiaries of the trust include a number of prominent institutions: the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Irish Drama Theater, and the Drama Society Foundation; The Museum of the City of New York is listed as a “potential beneficiary,” but the filing does not state what the fallback is. The trust will also benefit the Stephen Sondheim Foundation once it is established.

Dozens of individuals are also listed as beneficiaries, including friends, neighbors and former assistants. Among them: Sondheim’s husband, Jeff Romley, and one of Sondheim’s most famous collaborators, James Lapine. (Sondheim and Lapine shared a Pulitzer to write “Sunday in the park with George”; Their other collaborations include the musicals “Into the Woods” and “Passion.”) Also listed as beneficiaries: Peter Jones, a playwright who was once romantically linked to Sondheim; Steven Clari, who was Sondheim’s assistant; Peter Wooster, a designer who lives in a cottage on the Connecticut estate of Sondheim; and Rob Girard, who Wooster’s Gardener.

Andrew S. Auchincloss, an estate attorney with Schlesinger Lazetera & Auchincloss, said: “The probate tells you who the beneficiaries are, but not who gets what, and that’s the bottom line. here. “It’s being kept under wraps.”

Benjamin Weiser contributed reporting. Stephen Sondheim leaves the rights to his works to the trust

Fry Electronics Team

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