Tag Archives: celebrity estates

Celebrity Legacies: Kurt Cobain Estate At The Heart Of 20 Years Of Fighting

It has been more than twenty years since Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, died from a shotgun blast to his head, at age 27. His talent, passion, and creativity launched a new movement for not only rock music, but American culture itself.  Kurt Cobain

Cobain was a game-changer who burned too bright — brighter than he could handle.   Kurt Cobain suicide note summarized it well:  “I don’t have the passion anymore, and so remember, it’s better to burn out than to fade away.”

Cobain’s death may have epitomized the burning out of a flame that grew too hot, but it sparked something else — court fights and ugly battles over his legacy that continued for almost 20 years.

This is installment #7 of our Estate Planning Lessons From The Stars series, which is based on the Celebrity Legacies TV show for which we provide commentary as the estate legal experts.  See other articles in the series here.

Kurt Cobain Estate – Celebrity Legacies

His widow, Courtney Love, has been Read more...

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What Does Tupac’s Hologram Mean For Other Celebrity Estates?

INDIO, CA - APRIL 15:  A hologram of deceased ...The music world has been buzzing ever since the surprise appearance of Tupac Shakur — well, that is, a digitally-created 3-D image of Tupac — on stage to rap at the Coachella music festival in California.  Some have described this as creepy, like seeing a ghost.  Is this going to be a new trend for celebrity estates?  Should it be?

First, there is the issue of legality.  Was it legal for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg to bring Tupac’s image on stage?  Because this was a use of Tupac’s image and likeness for commercial purposes, only the holder of the “right of publicity” for Tupac could authorize it.  That right is owned by Tupac’s estate, under the control of the executor — his mother, Afeni Shakur.

Reportedly, she not only authorized it, but was thrilled with the outcome.  Dr. Dre repaid the estate for this permission with a contribution to the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, which is Tupac’s charity.

Dr. Dre has already said he’d love to bring out other Read more...

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Forbes: Get Them Jamming On Estate Planning

Danielle Mayoras, who co-authored Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights! with me, recently wrote an article for Forbes.com to help financial advisers, attorneys, and other professionals get their clients talking about estate planning, using celebrity stories.  Most people don’t like to even discuss the legal planning for what happens after they die, much less actually do the planning.

That’s why celebrity stories can help break the ice and get the conversation started.  Here’s her Forbes.com article with specific tips on how:

As professionals, one of the challenges that we have is motivating our clients to do their estate planning. You can educate clients about the proper estate planning and how it can help them, their families and their estate tax returns. The fact of the matter remains, however, that many clients will have excuses to push their legal planning to the back burner.

Reasons that you may have heard include being too busy with kids, jobs or parents to take the time to do the planning. Others may be uncomfortable

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