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Don’t Do Me Like That

When Tom Petty died of a drug overdose 18 months ago, he was survived by his second wife, Dana York, and his two daughters from his first marriage, Adria and Annakim. Petty created a trust to administer and distribute his assets. He named his widow as the trustee. He also directed that his music rights and royalties be transferred to a company to be managed equally by his widow and daughters.

His wife believes “equally” means a 50/50 split of management while the daughters contend that “equally” means they each get a vote for 2/3 control. The eldest daughter has opposed a 25th anniversary release of Petty’s last good album, Wildflowers, and has flamed various members of his band and the City of Gainesville. His widow has petitioned the LA probate court to appoint a day to day manager of the estate and requested that Adria act respectably.

Several quick points:

1. No matter how much planning a person does, there is no guarantee that his heirs will behave after his death.

2. Second marriages are always ripe for irrational emotional reactions after a death.

3. The estate planning attorney likely wishes he had defined “equally” in the trust.

4. A bank trustee can sometimes diffuse some of a beneficiary’s distrust, but not always. And usually not with someone as ill tempered as Adria.

5. In the streaming music era, the expected windfall from the re-release of Wildflowers is illusory. No one under 50 buys CDs.

Photo Credit:  NY Post? – vidcap

License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

The Thrill Is Gone Part II

Since BB King died two weeks ago, some of his family members have accused his manager of poisoning him and have also threatened to challenge his will.  King allegedly left his 13 children $5,000 each and left $3,000 to his grandchildren.  He left the balance of his estate in trust for the education of future descendants.

Several points:

1.  When children make ludicrous accusations against a long time friend and confidante, it is easy to see why Mr. King would want to leave them a nominal amount from his estate.

2.  To ward off a will contest, Mr. King could have left them a larger sum i.e. $50K and tied the acceptance of it to not contesting the will.  If someone contested the will, she would not receive her inheritance.

3.  With their educations funded by Mr. King, perhaps his future descendants will realize that 89 year old diabetics in hospice care die naturally and not from poisoning.

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All Posts By Jay Brinker

I am an attorney located in Cincinnati, Ohio who practices in the areas of estate planning, probate, asset protection, and small business advice. I make a difficult and bewildering process as simple as possible. Most importantly, I provide "more for less" for my clients.