If there is any one group of people who should have an estate plan in place, it is celebrities. Of course, like most people, celebrities become distracted with life or refuse to face the possibility of their own mortality. Should they continue to do so and pass away, their estate becomes at risk. Take, for example, the issues faced by the families of Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix. Both were major music icons, both died without a will in place, and both left behind a frustrating mess.
Jimi Hendrix’s Estate
When Jimi Hendrix died in 1970, the entirety of his estate went to his father, Al Hendrix. When Al died in 2002, the estate then went to Al’s step-daughter, Janie Hendrix. Jimi’s brother, Leon, received nothing from the estate. Since then, the family has been in a long, grueling, and contentious family feud.
Some of the beneficiaries had asserted that Janie and Jimi had never had a close relationship and that she had no rights to the estate. There were also concerns over how she had managed the estate. At the end (2004), a judge determined that Janie had mismanaged the estate and breached her duty as a trustee. Even still, Leon received nothing more than the gold record that had been gifted to him by his father years before his death.
Bob Marley’s Estate
Bob Marley never saw himself as a “rich” man. In fact, he claimed not to have much in the way of assets during a 1979 interview with “60 Minutes.” What he failed to understand was that his legend would live on. Without rights to his image, trademark, and personality, the market would become a free-for-all. In some cases, the issue of selling merchandise would go beyond the capital money; it would be a matter of disgrace for those that loved and knew the legend best.
To stop the unabashed and insensitive manufacturing and sale of their loved one’s image, the family had to purchase rights to his image and trademark. Had Marley had the insight to understand the implications of passing away without a will, he might have better protected his family and his legacy.
Using a Will to Protect Your Legacy and Estate
Whether you have a sprawling estate worth millions, a legacy that needs to be preserved or only loved ones that you want to take care of once you are gone, draft a will. Schedule a consultation with the Long Grove wills and trusts lawyers at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC and get started today. Call 847-934-6000.
About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.