What has been written about iconic rock star Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, who died in 1995, literally fills volumes of material. Most descriptors portray the legendary industry figure as a conflict-averse and laid-back person.
Given such a personality, the artist would unquestionably be stunned and dismayed by the persistent battles that have centered on his sizable and diverse estate over the years, were he alive today to ponder what has transpired in the wake of his executor selection.
One of Garcia’s songs is Hell in a Bucket. Arguably, those words serve just fine to underscore the state of his estate owing to what one recent media focus terms the “messy circumstances” that centrally mark it.
Most notable is the conflict that ensued and has been steadily apparent from the moment that Garcia appointed his last wife — spouse number three — as his executor (personal representative) two-plus decades ago. His expectation was that she would protect the interests of his ex-spouses and several children.
She was “the worst person he could have picked” states a writer focusing on the rock star’s estate for the online legal company Lexology. She refused to let Garcia’s ex-spouses attend his funeral. She became embroiled in litigation concerning spousal payments. And she has been challenged repeatedly by beneficiaries on various matters.
Candidly, and especially in hindsight, Garcia’s estate problems don’t seem too surprising. Turbulence can feature in the administration of virtually any estate, and Garcia’s is marked by comparatively high wealth, including singular assets relating to musical rights.
We note in a recent blog post the complexity and unanticipated issues that can arise for many estates when questions and challenges are lobbed at appointed executors.
Indeed, we stress in our October 13 entry that a personal representative can be greatly assisted in carrying out estate duties, while simultaneously minimizing legal liabilities, by enlisting timely and on-point help from a seasoned estate administration attorney.