The inimitable Ray Charles was one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century, and he came along at just the right time to help to unify people with his diverse brand of soulful and inspiring music. To illustrate just how much influence Charles had, Rolling Stone magazine named him the 10th greatest musical artist of all time back in 2004, which was the year during which he died.
Ray Charles wrote a lot of songs so publishing rights were a large part of what he was leaving behind. According to a recent CNN article seven of his children are being sued by the Ray Charles Foundation because of the fact that they are trying to wrest back rights to some of his songs after agreeing not to try to make any further claims to his estate.
The article states that Charles made an arrangement with each of his 12 children before he passed away. They were all willing to accept trusts funded with $500,000 and in return they agreed to leave it at that and seek nothing more from the estate at any point in the future.
Now it appears as though seven of the 12 children have attempted to claim ownership of 51 of his songs, and the Ray Charles Foundation is suing them for $500,000 each on the grounds that their attempts to unjustly muddy ownership of the copyrights to the songs is reducing their value.
This case shows how intricate estate planning can be in certain cases. If you are in a situation that contains some challenging long-term implications, the intelligent course of action is to sit down and discuss your options with a licensed Hartford estate planning lawyer.