In certain estate cases, administration may go far beyond simply detailing who gets what asset immediately after a testator’s death. For those estates in Saint Charles that count artistic or intellectual properties amongst their assets, their management may extend for decades. This is something that one should consider when selecting an executor or personal representative. The role could potentially outlive the one it is assigned to, in which case a testator would want to detail the process for which a new executor would be selected.
A failure to do so could result in contention arising amongst those who are party to an estate. That appears to be what has happened with the estate case of the late blues singer Muddy Waters. His heirs are claiming that they are owed $2 million in royalties from the continued use of Waters’ catalog of music. The oversight appears to have occurred after the president of the management company that had administered the catalog (who was also the executor of Waters’ estate) died in 2015. Since that time, his widow has failed to appear for hearings in regards to the estate’s administration. Due to the lack of action in the case, Waters’ heirs asked that its administration be reopened, with his daughter appointed as administrator. This prompted the late executor’s widow to file a countersuit, saying the singer’s original will barred any of his descendants from becoming administrators.
This case serves to demonstrate just how far-reaching an estate case can be. Those managing it may require assistance in ensuring that an executor’s desires continue to be carried out as their estate instruments dictate. An attorney may be a good source of such assistance.