ESTATE PLANNING AND HIP-HOP ARTISTS
April 4, 2019
California hip-hop fans may be aware of some of the trust and estate planning issues that have arisen after the death of some hip-hop artists. For example, XXXTentacion created a trust and a last will and testament in 2017. He was murdered a few months later, in June 2018. He made his brothers and mother his beneficiaries, but there was a rumor that an ex-girlfriend was pregnant by him. In such a case, it might be possible for a child born after a parent's death to challenge an estate plan.
Estates may also face lawsuits or participate in litigation after a person's death. For example, the estate of the Notorious B.I.G. sued a snowboarding company for copyright and trademark infringement in using the rapper's image on its product. Rapper Doug E. Fresh is suing a neighbor in Harlem for a construction project that has stalled on behalf of an estate for which he is an executor.
Other rappers have also done effective estate planning. Mac Miller, who died in September 2018 of a drug overdose, reportedly had a last will and testament. He appointed a friend as estate executor. He also created a trust several years before his death in which his parents and brother are named as beneficiaries.
Trusts can have a number of functions within an estate plan. They might help in avoiding estate tax and protect assets from a beneficiary who might spend them irresponsibly. Some trusts can even protect assets from creditors or in case of divorce. Choosing the right trustee is an important element of creating a trust. While an executor may not necessarily need expertise in finances or legal matters, this might be necessary for a trustee. A trustee might consult professionals, and a law firm may be able to help with any issues around trusts and trust administration, including litigation related to the trust.