Fooled by the Small Print?

Stevie wonderStevie Wonder has recently been sued by the widow of his former attorney, who claims that the musician owes her millions in unpaid royalties. However, Wonder claims that he never knew about a contractual provision the lawyer put in his contract. Wow, can you say "conflict of interests"?

Like many musicians of his era, the young Stevie Wonder initially signed a contract with Motown Records that was heavily in favor of the record company. Wonder hired eccentric attorney Johanan Vigoda, who was able to get Wonder out of the contract with Motown. Vigoda was also able to secure a lucrative new contract for Wonder that was considered to be one of the best in the industry. Vigoda passed away in 2011.

His widow now claims that Wonder has failed to live up to that contract. A provision in it gives 6% of Wonder’s royalties to Vigoda and to Vigoda’s heirs in perpetuity. The 6% is higher than music industry standards and the perpetuity clause is also irregular. The Daily Beast reported on this lawsuit in “Is Stevie Wonder Cheating a Dead Man?

As everyone knows, Stevie Wonder is blind. He never read the contract himself, but had it read to him. He claims that either the perpetuity provision was not read to him or that he failed to catch it when the contract was being read. 
The great irony in this case is that the attorney who got Stevie Wonder out of a bad contract may have turned around and tricked Wonder into another one. That is at least the accusation. As of now, no court date is set in this case, so it may be quite a while before we know what happens; in the meantime all we can do is 'wonder'.

You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: business 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: The Daily Beast (September 21, 2015) “Is Stevie Wonder Cheating a Dead Man?

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment


We have a LOT more where that came from!

We hate spam too. We will never share or sell your information.

Call Now ButtonCall Us Now https://jsfiddle.net/7h5246b8/

Request a free consultation

We hate spam too. We will never share or sell your information.

We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
  • Live video workshops will be produced as quickly as possible and certainly ahead of our previous schedule; we will keep you posted as these events become available. Given the ‘boutique’ nature of the firm, we rarely have more than ten people in our office including team members at any one time. During this period of ‘social distancing,’ we promise to have no more than 8 people at any time.   This allows us to comply with the Governor’s directive to limit in-person gatherings.
  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
  • Please continue to follow the directives of our local, state, and federal agencies. For your health and in consideration of our team who is assisting you, if you’ve scheduled an office appointment or planned to drop off paperwork and are experiencing a fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your primary care doctor for guidance and then our office to reschedule.

Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.