David Bowie: musical icon with an eye on estate planning

Following uber icon David Bowie’s lead to gain traction in the musical industry would likely be a fruitless move for any young and ambitious musician, given Bowie’s singular chops and absolutely unique image and delivery.

Using his reported business acumen in the realm of estate planning, though, might be a different matter altogether. As noted in a recent article appearing in the publication Crain’s Wealth, Bowie’s “well-planned estate should serve as a lesson for everyone else.”

And that would certainly include the heirs of many other famed rock and rollers, who Crain’s notes “all went through messy estate battles” because those musicians paid scant attention to estate planning considerations while cranking out the tunes. Crain’s points to artists like John Lennon and Kurt Cobain as being prime examples of entertainers who relied upon “woefully inadequate planning.”

Not so, Bowie, who many of our readers likely know passed away recently. The multi-talented singer, songwriter, instrumentalist and live performer of many guises took the unprecedented step of issuing so-called “Bowie Bonds” in 1997, seeking to attract investors wanting to profit from his extensive musical catalog.

Rather than selling or licensing those rights outright, the artist transferred them to a global insurance company for 10 years as a bond offering with an attractive rate of return secured by Bowie’s musical intellectual property rights.

That scheme netted him scores of millions of dollars, which the artist reportedly put to good use, with an eye on financially protecting his wife and children.

The details of Bowie’s estate plan are not publicly known, which is likely just the way the artist wanted it.

His focus upon early and smart planning is now widely known, though, and, as Crain’s notes, tells a tale that might motivate many people to act purposefully and in a timely manner to make well-tailored moves that will protect future family generations.

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