Aretha Franklin died without a will. Her Intellectual Property is also at stake

Sep 17, 2018

Aretha Franklin’s funeral was fit for the Queen she was, complete with four changes of outfits and several public viewings. To express their admiration and gratitude, her fans traveled from faraway places to be close to her in her final tour. The famous interpreter of RESPECT and Natural Woman died August the 16th, 2018 at the age of 76.

Her voice and songs made her the Queen of Soul and the creator of invaluable intellectual property difficult to match in the show business world.

Like so many stars, Aretha Franklin did not leave a will or trust to manage her legacy and her physical properties, leaving the family with the bitter task of dividing her estate.

Her situation is not unique among artists, creators, and innovators.

Among the famous who died without a will are Prince, Amy Winehouse, Sony Bono, Jimi Hendrix, Howard Hughes and Stieg Larsson, the writer of the novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which also became a famous book and movie series in Europe and the USA. 

Dying without a will leaves problems to the possible heirs, who may confront years-long legal battles. The potential for legal problems grows if there is intellectual property to preserve. Additionally, dying intestate may open up financial details to the public, as opposed to dealing with them in privacy. 

Intellectual property, like physical property, can be passed on to persons and should be included in the will or trusts for preservation and care.

In our legal practice, we have the honor to assist artists and writers to include clauses in their living wills to manage intellectual property and designate executors and beneficiaries.

This planning prevents the animosity among the parties that can lead to the mismanagement of valuable intellectual property and lost revenues as a result of the disagreements and court battles. 

It is important for artists and creators to hire a competent intellectual property attorney to identify and protect all aspects of the creator’s legacy.

If you have questions on how to integrate your intellectual property either be trademarks, copyrights or patents into a will or trust, contact Marcos E. Garciaacosta, Esq. to have a comprehensive assessment of your estate and the incorporation of those assets for preservation. 




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