April 9, 2019
Authored by: Charles Lin and Stephen Daiker
When a celebrity’s death hits the newswires, it’s often immediately followed by reports of the size of the deceased’s estate and the identity of the beneficiaries. In addition, not infrequently public battles among the beneficiaries ensue. Some disputes are the result of the simple (yet, significant) error of dying without an estate plan, as in the Prince estate. Others provide specific lessons demonstrating the need for attention to detail when creating an estate plan, such as in Tom Petty’s estate.
Tom Petty was a historically-acclaimed singer-songwriter and record producer, who performed as a solo artist and as the lead singer for the Heartbreakers. Upon his death in October of 2017, his trust directed the trustee, his second wife, to establish an entity to be used to hold and control Petty’s sizable and valuable music catalog. The terms of the trust ascribing control of the entity provide, as follows: