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By Courtney Sebo / August 16, 2017
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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes Jimi as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music."
Jimi was born in 1942. He grew up in and out of foster and friends' and family's homes. His mother died at 32 and his father Al raised him and his younger brother Leon but had a hard time finding work to support the family. Jimi and his younger brother often ate horsemeat burgers when they ate at all.
Jimi would carry a broom like a guitar to school. When Jimi was 15, his father Al found a ukelele and gave it to him. He then bought him an electric guitar. When Jimi was 19, he went into the Army. He was injured a year later, which is when his career took off. He rose to fame but was only known in mainstream music for four years before his untimely death at the age of 27.
Under the laws of intestacy in New York, Jimi's dad inherited Jimi's entire estate. Much of it was stolen from Jimi's dad, who fought to get it back. When he did, he created a company and grew Jimi's legacy through licensing. Al put his adopted daughter Janie in charge of the company. Janie was Al's adopted daughter from a subsequent marriage, so she was not related to Jimi and had only met him a couple of times by the time he died. She was nine when Jimi died.
When Al died in 2002, Jimi's brother Leon realized he was left out of his father's estate plan. Al had drafted a new plan in 1997 disinheriting Leon and leaving his entire estate to Janie.
Leon sued Janie. He said she drove a wedge between Al and Leon. He said she manipulated Al to inherit his entire estate. He said she poorly managed the estate by putting Jimi's image on air fresheners, golf balls, cell phone covers, and incense. Each side spent millions of dollars in legal fees.
In the end, even though the judge found Janie not to be credible - he still found against Leon.
Leon went on to start a new business using Jimi's image. Janie sued him. Leon lost again and the judge entered judgment against him for $3.2 million.
So much sadness and uncertainty could have been prevented if Jimi Hendrix had created an estate plan! I am sure that at 27 it was the last thing on his mind. But none of knows the time when an estate plan will be needed.
If you have any questions, please feel to call or message me. I offer free consultations and am always happy to help prevent the heartache that people like Leon experienced.
By Courtney Sebo / June 2, 2015.
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By Courtney Sebo / April 20, 2015.
By Courtney Sebo / April 20, 2015
By Courtney Sebo / April 18, 2015
By Courtney Sebo / April 10, 2015
For further information relating to blended families, please visit Excelsior Law Blog's Blended posts.
The Excelsior Law Blog
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