Monday, April 21, 2008
According to Michael A. Hiltzik, Ray Charles' children battle over his legacy, LATimes.com, April 20, 2008:
Shortly before Christmas 2002, Ray Charles called a meeting of his 12 children at a hotel near Los Angeles International Airport. Ten of them, ranging in age from 16 to 50 -- with 10 mothers among them -- listened as their father told them he was mortally ill and outlined what they could expect from his fortune.
Most of Charles' assets would be left to his charitable foundation. But $500,000 had been placed in trusts for each of the children to be paid out over the next five years, according to people at the meeting and a trust document.
Yet Charles' description left so much to the imagination that some of the children came away with the impression that he meant to leave them $1 million each. Charles also hinted that there would be more for them "down the line," which some interpreted to mean they would inherit the right to license his name and likeness for profit.***
Charles exercised iron control over his music and recordings, but his legacy is in disarray, knotted up in legal disputes between the estate's management and his family members[.]
Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.