One of the most important decisions that those involved in the estate planning process in Woodland Hills will make is the choice of their personal representative or executor. When they nominate someone for this role, they may not simply be asking this person to take on the task of ensuring that their assets are distributed to the right beneficiaries. Rather, they are tasking them with the management of the estate’s assets (which can ultimately require a commitment akin to a full-time job). For estates that list intellectual or artistic properties amongst their assets (or whose settlor’s developed reputations or brand names that need protecting), the job of managing an estate may last years.
Take the estate of the later singer Michael Jackson. Despite Jackson himself having been dead for several years, representatives from his estate find themselves still hard at work preserving his legacy. Their latest struggle is the Home Box Office network, which has created a documentary sharing the stories of people who claim the singer sexually abused them. The estate recently scored a win in this legal battle, successfully arguing that a contract that the singer signed in 1992 with HBO included a provision that prohibited the network from ever disparaging him. A U.S. District Court judge agreed with the estate’s assertion that the clause is still valid. HBO is now going forward with an appeal to that ruling.
Thus the work in managing Jackson’s estate goes on, as it does for many of those estates that face similar issues. One whose estate could present similar challenges should therefore put a great deal of thought into who they want to entrust with the role of its management. An experienced estate planning attorney may be a good source of advice during this process.