There are a handful of true legends in the annals of popular music history and, without question, Ray Charles is among them. He was named the 10th best musical artist of all time by Rolling Stone magazine back in 2004, the same year he passed away.
According to an article on CNN Ray Charles had 12 children to whom he left trust funds valued at $500,000 each. He did ask that they agree to make no future claims against the estate when he was creating these trusts for their benefit.
Mr. Charles also created a charitable foundation. We are now hearing that the foundation has sued seven of the Charles children for a half million dollars each.
It seems that the children attempted to renegotiate copyrights to 51 songs that have been the property of the Ray Charles Foundation and take ownership of these compositions.
The foundation contends that the children have no legal standing with regard to renegotiating the copyrights. Because of the efforts by the children to win the copyrights, the foundation feels as though the value of the songs has been damaged. The loss of value is the basis of the suit.
As you can see from this case, careful and precise planning is key because interested parties do not always remain satisfied with their inheritances as the years pass. I’ve often said bad behavior can ruin a good plan. The only way to be certain that your wishes will be carried out for the long-term is to engage the assistance of a focused, dedicated, and experienced Oklahoma City estate planning lawyer.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday