By: Jim Dossey, MS, MBA, JD -
Jimi Hendrix, one of the world's most influential and famous musicians, died without a Will on September 18 th, 1970 at the age of 32. Over 40 years later, his $80-plus Million estate still remains contested in various legal battles.
Hendrix fathered two children out of wedlock, but his father, Al Hendrix legally denied them any benefit from the estate and became the sole heir. In 2002, Al Hendrix died having rewritten his Will, cutting Jimi's brother Leon out of the Jimi Hendrix estate. Leon then sued his adoptive sister Janie Hendrix claiming that she pressured Al to write him out of his Will. In the end, Leon spent over $3 Million challenging his disinheritance, only to have it upheld in court. Biographer Charles Cross of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer noted that "The sad legacy of Jimi Hendrix, is that ever since his first record came out, people have been fighting over the money."
From an estate planning perspective, the Jimi Hendrix story illustrates the importance of writing a Will and planning your affairs before you die. Many of the legal battles that occurred after Jimi's death could have been avoided had he created a Will before he died.
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