Hi, I suffered a traumatic brain injury when I was a police officer. It was a very long, difficult recovery, and it ended my marriage and I was abandoned in my home with my two dogs. A Hollywood producer wants to buy the rights of my story. I receive a disability pension with full health benefits. Would selling the rights of my life story effect my disability pension and benefits? Would I lose my pension? Also, what would I have to pay for taxes? I'm concerned about these issues before I say yes. This is all exciting but I don't want to lose my pension and pay huge taxes. The production company is with 20th Century Fox. Your help is greatly appreciated. Thank you
You should consult with at least 2-3 different types of attorneys before accepting this offer. First, an employment law attorney that specializes in pensions and benefits and who can examine your current benefits plan. Also, a tax law specialist to advise you on that aspect. Lastly, an entertainment law attorney so that you get an informed opinion on the offer made to you by the production company and assist you with any additional royalties you may negotiate for. You can easily find qualified attorneys in Florida to cover these areas. Avvo has a "find a lawyer" feature to narrow down by practice area and geographic location.
Don't take a deal without doing a little homework upfront. Good luck to you.
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I agree with attorney Brede. For the tax questions. you can also consult with a CPA. It would be advisable to have an entertainment/contract lawyer review any contract for sales of the rights to your story before signing! You should consult with an employment lawyer or one experienced with pensions regarding what if any impact this would have. If it is not employment, on its face it seems like it would not affect. You may also want to contact the pension administrator or union that handles the pension as well. Good luck, and thank you for your service and sacrifice.
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I agree with Ms. Brede. But yes, there would be tax consequences such that you would end up owing taxes to the IRS. What would that do to your pension? We would need to consult an employment or benefits attorney for that. Finally, a tax attorney would want to consult with the entertainment lawyer so as to structure any deal in the most tax-effective manner. Best of luck.
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