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Feud Over Hendrix Estate Might Be Resolved 45 Years after His Death

Jimi HendrixThe 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 in 1970, he left behind perhaps the greatest rock guitarist legacy of all time. His fame, barely diminished in the four decades, has allowed his estate to continue to profit but his lack of an estate plan has have left his brother, Leon Hendrix, and his adopted sister, Janie Hendrix, fighting with each other over that legacy for the past 45 years. Both of them, seeking various ways to profit, have always 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 Hendrix. 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 $80M estate to Janie, excluding son 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 as well. That is what led to the latest feud between Janie and Leon. (Looks like Janie wins again but at what cost emotionally and financially?)

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 die. You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.  However, proper estate planning is not a do-it-yourself project.  Why not call us for a complimentary consultation at 757-259-0707.  

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

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