For most of us, the assets we own at the time of our death represent the sum total of our wealth. Once we are gone, our estates don’t earn any additional money. For some people, however, they actually continue to earn money long after they are gone. In fact, an Oklahoma City estate planning attorney at Parman & Easterday offers the following list of top earning estates for 2019.
Their Estate Made How Much?!
Unlike the average person, celebrities often continue to rake in the money after death. In some cases, their estate actually earns more than they ever earned while alive because their fame grows after they are gone. The amount of income some of these estates earns is significant. Consider the top earners for 2019:
- Nipsey Hussle – $11 million — Hussle (often written as Hu$$le) was a west coast rapper who was fatally shot outside his store Marathon Clothing in South Los Angeles in March of this year. The rapper’s songs were streamed 1.85 billion times this year alone which contributed significantly to his estate since he retained the rights to his music. Nipsey’s contributions to his community in South Los Angeles are now archived in U.S. history as part of the Congressional Record.
- Prince – $12 million – The artist formerly known as “Prince” passed away unexpectedly in 2016 after spending more than three decades in the music industry. Whether you love his music or not, you probably know who he is.
- Marilyn Monroe – $13 million – It’s hard to believe that Marilyn Monroe died in 1962 – more than 50 years ago – yet her estate continues to earn a small fortune every year. In 2018, her estate earned $14 million, making her #8 on the list that year.
- John Lennon – $14 million – It’s probably not surprising that the former Beatle’s estate continues to earn a sizable fortune each year. This year was particularly lucrative for the Beatles (here and gone) because it was the 50th anniversary of Abbey Road. In addition, Cirque du Soleil did a show in Las Vegas that features their music.
- Dr. Seuss – $19 million – This one is also likely not a surprise. Few children in America make is through childhood without reading a Dr. Seuss book. Apparently, the Cat in the Hat continues to be a favorite. In addition, Seuss’s estate made a licensing deal with Hallmark that is bringing in a significant income to the estate.
- Bob Marley – $20 million – One of the pioneers of reggae, Bob Marley is one of those celebrities who seems to grow larger – and richer – in death. Marley passed away in 1981, yet his face and name continue to be a valuable commodity, earning his estate the number five spot on the list.
- Arnold Palmer – $30 million – Arguably, the most well-known name in golf, Palmer’s career spanned more than six decades. Palmer won 62 PGA Tour titles from 1955 to 1973, earning him fifth place on the Tour’s all-time victory list, trailing only Tiger Woods, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, and Ben Hogan. He also won the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998, and in 1974 was one of the 13 original inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Arnold passed away in 2016; however, his estate appears to be doing quite well.
- Charles Schulz – $38 million – Another American icon, the Peanuts creator passed away in 2000. This year, however, marked the 70th anniversary of Peanuts and Snoopy – who are clearly still earning Schulz’s estate a tidy sum.
- Elvis Presley – $39 million – The King of Rock n Roll has been gone for over 40 years, yet his home (Graceland) remains the second most-visited house in the U.S. after the White House with 650,000 visitors annually. With a biopic in the works for 2021, featuring Tom Hanks in a supporting role, it seems clear that our obsession with Elvis continues.
- Michael Jackson – $60 million – Only the King of Pop should out-earn the King of Rock n Roll. This marks Jackson’s seventh year in a row in the number one spot. If the $60 million his estate earned this year is impressive – last year his estate earned a staggering $400 million thanks to the sale of his stake in a music publishing company, a new record deal and a Halloween special.
Contact an Oklahoma City Estate Planning Attorney
For additional information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about estate planning, contact an experienced Oklahoma City estate planning attorney at Parman & Easterday by calling 405-843-6100 or 913-385-9400 to schedule your appointment today.
If the decedent left behind a Will or trust naming beneficiaries and specifying how the estate was to be distributed, the terms of that Will or trust will dictate who benefits from the estate. If the decedent died intestate (without a Will or Trust) the state intestate succession laws decide who inherits from the estate, including who receives residual income.
Another reason to execute a Will is because is allows you to appoint an Executor. The Executor of an estate manages the estate assets during the probate process. In the case of a celebrity, such as Elvis, there will be a team of advisors as well that help make decisions about the estate.
One of the best ways for your assets to continue to earn money after you are gone is to create a trust. Assets held in the trust can continue to earn interest and/or profits from investments after your death.