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A Flaw in the Estate Planning of Former Beastie Boy, Adam Yauch

By September 7, 2012Celebrity Estates

Adam Yauch, a co-founded and singer in The Beastie Boys, died from cancer at 47 years old in May 2012.  Yauch did many things right in his estate planning, but he also did quite a few wrong.  Yauch created a 10-page Will that was, for the most part, fairly straightforward.  His estimated $6.4 million estate was left to a trust, the terms of which are kept private.  However, a Will is a public document and any designations made therein are available knowledge.

Yauch was wise enough to set up a legal guardian for his daughter in case both he and his wife, Dechen, should pass away.  He also used a trust for his assets, which is a very wise choice.  However, more of his designations should have been done in his trust to ensure privacy and give added protection for the beneficiaries and the assets.

Yauch’s Will, prepared by his lawyers, prohibits Yauch’s image or name from being used for advertising purpose – a common choice among celebrities.  However, Yauch made things more muddled and confused by adding additional information to the line by hand, making it read as such: “in no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes.”

Matters could get very complicated in such a case because there may be other entities or individuals that own the rights to some of his material.  How does this designation affect them?  Technically, Yauch can only refuse the rights to materials where he is the owner, but he may not own all the copyrights to his music or even his image.  Many times in Hollywood, the production company owns these rights and the performer receives royalties.  The court will have to decide how this designation will be enforced and what aspects will be affected by it.

We often have clients ask if they can handwrite changes into their estate planning documents.  We highly recommend against doing so as it can affect the legality of your documents and can produce concerns as to your wishes and the validity of the changes.  Instead, we tell our clients to meet with us so that all changes can be made properly.  A minor well-intended change, if not done correctly, could cause larger problems with your documents.

If you have changes, or simply want to review your documents free of charge, contact us today to schedule an appointment by calling 888.222.1328.

Why Choose Morris Hall:
You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick Morris Hall?  First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters.  Also, MH is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones.  We are one of only two firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in New Mexico that has been granted membership.  If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with MH.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

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