Hendrix Family Feud Resolved For Now

Sxsw-jimi-hendrix-andre-3000The latest in a long string of battles between Jimi Hendrix's siblings may have been settled, but with proper estate planning it might not have happened at all.

When Jimi Hendrix passed away unexpectedly, he left behind perhaps the greatest rock guitarist legacy of all time. His fame has hardly diminished in the three decades since.

His brother Leon Hendrix and his adopted sister Janie Hendrix have been fighting with each other over that legacy. Both of them have sought to profit from it and have worked at cross-purposes. The latest battle between them was over a trademark infringement lawsuit.

This matter has been settled, as reported recently by the Seattle Times in "Latest Jimi Hendrix family feud resolved in settlement." That the siblings have been able to fight as long as they have could be the result of two distinct estate planning mistakes.

The first was that Jimi Hendrix passed away without having created a will or having done any other form of estate planning. By law his estate, including the rights to his music and image, went to his father James. It is unknown if Jimi would have wanted his father to control everything, or even anything at all.

Second, James Hendrix may have compounded the problem in his will, which left the entire estate to Janie and excluded Leon. While that will has been upheld in court and Janie legally controls Jimi Hendrix's legacy, that has not stopped Leon from attempting to profit off it as well. That is what led to the latest feud between Janie and Leon.

We may never know whether the feuding could have been avoided had either Jimi Hendrix had a will or James Hendrix had a will that more equitably divided the estate. It certainly would not have hurt the situation.

You may not be a rock star, but just the same, contact an estate planning attorney to help you avoid any family drama after you pass.

For more information about estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: Seattle Times (August 13, 2015) "Latest Jimi Hendrix family feud resolved in settlement."

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