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)