We're wrapping up the year with a final entry about Bob Marley's heirs and their efforts over the years to control the singer's image, persona and name ... and just about everything to do with the Reggae great. The lawsuits started right after Marley died, because he died without an estate plan. Considering that Marley was worth about $30 million when he died in 1981, the litigation came as no surprise.
Bob Marley left no will when he died in 1981. (Oh, it is tempting to quote Dickens here!) Marley had been sick with cancer for a year, but he left no will, no trust, nothing -- well, something: an estate worth $30 million. When you combine a legend with $30 million and no estate plan, litigation likely ensues. In this case, the estate has been involved in multiple lawsuits for the past 30 years.
Bob Marley may have grown up in poverty, but his talent and tenacity made him a wealthy man. By the time he died, in Miami, at age 36, his estate was estimated to be worth $30 million. That was 30 years ago, and his widow and children have been embroiled in litigation ever since.
We are on another multi-post jag, this time about Bob Marley's estate. His widow and children have fiercely protected the Rasta legend's name, likeness, image and works since the singer died. The most recent litigation involves Marley's half-brother, who owns a restaurant named Mama Marley's. The half-brother lives in Miami, where Marley died more than 30 years ago.
We are talking about Bob Marley's estate. His widow and nine of his children have recently filed a lawsuit against the singer's half-brother to stop him from using the Marley name or reputation in a handful of business ventures in Florida and Jamaica. Sadly, this is just the most recent court battle Marley's heirs have entered into. In the 30 years since his death, Marley's family has fought to maintain control of all things Marley.
This is another story about a celebrity's post-mortem value. Reggae legend Bob Marley's widow and children are not only heirs to the singer, but they are heirs to the singer's brand. In an effort to preserve that brand, Marley's widow and nine of the couple's children have filed a complaint in federal court to stop the singer's half-brother from capitalizing on the Marley name. The half-brother has long used Marley's name to promote a Miami music festival, among other businesses.
We have been telling the story of another celebrity probate problem. This time, the testatrix was the richest woman in Asia. She had left her sizeable estate to her feng shui advisor, or so he claimed. He produced a will that he said the woman executed just months before she died.
There are times in life when mockery is simply bad karma. This is especially important to remember when you're discussing celebrities and their wills. If you hear, for example, about an actor who always played big, dumb guys who inadvertently left his millions to his neighbor's cat, you think, "Of course! He was just a big, dumb guy!" The truth is, even here in the Sunshine State, this stuff can happen -- it's all too easy, even for celebrities, to make a mistake that can tie up an estate for years.