The Importance of Wills: Jimi Hendrix – September 1970

 In Katherine Law, Wills & Probate
ARTICLE BY: Katherine Law

Jimi Hendrix died at the young age of 27 on 18 September 1970. He did not have a Will. Following his death, there have been and continue to be numerous lawsuits regarding his estate.

In the absence of a Will stipulating anything different, his estate passed to his father, Al Hendrix. Despite this, Al had to sue for the rights to Jimi’s music. He was successful and won the rights in 1995 (25 years after his son’s death).

Al died in 2002. At this time, the Hendrix estate was worth an estimated $80 million. Al left almost the entirety of the estate to his adopted daughter Janie.  Having divorced Jimi’s mother in the 1950’s, Al adopted Janie in 1968 when he married her mother.

Jimi’s brother, Leon Hendrix, made a claim against Al’s estate, alleging that Al had been coerced and manipulated by Janie in writing him and Al’s other children out of the Will. Leon asked the Court to write him back into the Will.

Following a trial that almost took 3 months, the judge felt that Al had purposefully left almost the entire estate to Janie because she was the family member he trusted the most. Since this judgment, there continues to be legal battles from family members and associates regarding the rights to Jimi’s estate.

Who’s to say that Jimi Hendrix didn’t want his estate to pass to his father? Without a Will clearly stipulating his wishes, none of us know what he would have wanted. It can often become a “he said, she said” scenario but, this still doesn’t alter the intestacy rules.

Avoid the intestacy rules dictating who will inherit your estate and write your Will.

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Katherine Law

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