Generally speaking, we think of estate planning lawyers as professionals who help us protect our wishes and pass our “stuff” onto loved ones after we pass. For most of us, this makes sense, as we have fairly straightforward wishes and needs. In some cases, though, there are estates that go on to continue earning considerable sums of money long after the individual has been gone. Here are some deceased celebrities’ whose estates continued to grow and provide for their families and other causes.
The rights to Michael Jackson’s music are a part of his estate, and you can be sure that no one is using them without paying good money. In the 12 months preceding October of 2011, his estate earned $170 million. He was the second highest-earning pop act of that year, and he had been dead for two years.
While it seems more obvious that musician’s estates could continue earning through rights to their songs, much of the $12 million brought in by Taylor’s estate in 2011 came from sales of her perfume, White Diamonds. Additional income came into the estate when many of her private possessions, such as jewels and gowns, were auctioned off.
A different kind of “celebrity,” scientist Albert Einstein’s estate continues to grow. Despite passing away in 1955, Einstein’s estate earned $10 million from October of 2011 to October of 2012. The use of Einstein’s name (and the fee that goes along with it) has extended to products like Baby Einstein videos, and his likeness has been used in automobile ads.
Royalties from Rock and Roll are often near the top of the list for deceased celebrities whose estates are still amassing fortunes. Yet, much of Elvis’ revenue comes from the Graceland mansion. In addition, his estate benefits from music rights that have been parlayed into a Cirque du Soleil show.
His real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, but most people know him better as the author Dr. Seuss. This icon’s children’s books continue to be sold today, which is wonderful for his heirs. Of course, the fact that Hollywood keeps making movies from his stories does not hurt, either, as his estate brought in $9 million in one year alone!
You may not have a catalog of songs or even crazy hair and a theory about relativity, but that does not mean that you should avoid working with an estate planning lawyer in Houston to see how you might be able to set up an estate that continues to earn revenue for your family for generations to come. To discuss your options and how to leave a legacy for your family, contact our Houston law firm at (281) 218-0880 and ask to schedule a complimentary consultation with the mention of this blog post.