Estate planning is not an easy task and not something that should be undertaken lightly. If you make mistakes in your estate plan, the family conflicts after your death can go on for years and cause bitterness or estrangement between your loved ones. Even the extremely rich and famous can make mistakes in their estate plans that cause later conflicts.
Ray Charles created a foundation for his estate and left most of his property to it. However, he had 12 children. For each of the children he created a trust fund of half a million dollars. As a condition of receiving the trusts, Charles’ children supposedly agreed that they had no other rights to his estate. That all sounds good, but the matter has ended up in court. Allegedly, Ray Charles’ children are attempting to enforce copyrights to his music and the foundation claims this is in violation of their trust agreements. The foundation is demanding half a million dollars from each child in court.
Could Ray Charles estate plan have been better? It’s hard to know at this point as the matter needs to go through court. Maybe his children are being greedy? Maybe they have rights to his music? Unfortunately, a court will have to decide. Keep this type of situation from happening to your estate by having an estate attorney make your plans and spell everything out specifically.
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