Wills: “The Responsible Thing To Do”
You may have guessed it. The recent unexpected passing of Rapper Prodigy of Mobb Deep, as well as Master P’s heartfelt post from outside the BET Awards, and Attorney Walker Chandler’s constant admonition to entertainers of “Do The Responsible Thing Now, Before It’s Too Late!” all prove the importance of legacy planning. In other words, the importance of having a will.
Wills. Usually Not A Top Priority for Young Entertainment Professionals. But Especially Important In Music!
A sad reality is that many artists are much more appreciated once they have left the physical world. They become sorely missed. Fans and the public become more aware of their contributions to music and culture and their legacy lives on in their artistic creations and music.
As has been demonstrated by recent passings in the music business such as the legendary Rapper Prodigy, a member of the influential group Mobb Deep, often death comes at unexpected times. Who ever knows when they might pass on? So very few, and usually only those who either live to very old age, or unfortunately suffer a drawn out process. Most people however do not know, and do not expect arguably life’s most definite event.
Walker has for decades helped various old and new friends and clients create, update, and revise their wills. He thought he’d be doing that sort of thing as part of a small-town country law practice, so while he was at Mercer Law School he made a point of taking courses that would prepare him for that sort of work.
More recently he has helped younger professionals especially those in the entertainment business realize the importance of protecting their families, their legacy, and the future beyond their lifetimes.
He often, “Goes Old School” on “New School Rising Stars” explaining how in his words “I don’t care who you are, if you have valuable assets and you’re in business you need a will, and your business partners do as well dammit !”
On wills, he often points out several obvious things:
- Wills need to be thought out and should have alternative beneficiaries, guardians, executors, and the like. After all, circumstances change and over time one might need to make will changes.
- It is irresponsible not to have a will. After all, there is often a lot of business to conduct after one of us passes away—cases to settle, land to transfer, rights to assign, assets to divide, and so forth. Without a will one’s family may have to go through all sorts of cumbersome legal processes just to get the right and legal authority to deal with such issues,
- For people who will be leaving money or property to minor children, wills are very important. Without a will one might see an 18 year old come into her full inheritance—a sure-fire recipe for disaster.
- Also, who does a couple really want to be the guardians of their children? Are they going to just leave it up to chance?
- Most older couples also want to have General Powers of Attorney and Medical Powers of Attorney in place should the need for such things arise.
- And when it comes to powers of attorney and wills, one thing is sure: when one really needs it, it is too late to make one.Don’t put off doing the mature, responsible things. You’ll be glad when you have taken care of business. So will your family.
- Who knows if a death will be the result of someone else mistake, an auto accident for example, and a large payout will be at stake? Do you want the wrong person benefiting?
Lastly, it cannot be over emphasized that music copyright “rights” catalogues may multiply in value dramatically and take on a life of their own as an income producing assets that provide for generations to come. Think about it, do you want royalties and money tied up in battles or only available to your family after long arduous processes (probate) or do you want your family to fully realize the blessing of the inheritance you may leave them?
So both Walker and Zeb Chandler both advocate that individuals prepare a will earlier rather than later, because too late is too late. Not only does it give a person a deeper sense of purpose and clarity on their and their families future, but you do not want your life’s work to not be protected for the benefit of those you love the most….. right?