Estate Planning Has Long Term Consequences: See Rick Nelson

Elder law estate planning may have consequences that last for decades, even centuries.

Ricky Nelson
Cover of Ricky Nelson

Your estate plan lives on as your legacy. It also may carry legal matters on for years.

Take the estate of singer Rick Nelson, who many of us remember from the Ozzie and Harriet TV show or his 1970s hits such as “Garden Party.” He died in a plane crash in 1985.

A dispute recently arose between his estate and Capital Records, according to an article on

Nelson’s will left everything to his children from his marriage, but ignored an out-of-wedlock child.

His ex-wife tried to get control of his estate, which was being administered by his brother, David, but failed.

These issues were resolved in out-of-court settlements, but his estate recently reappeared in the news when his children filed a suit against Capital looking for royalties. They argued they were being cheated out of money due from digital downloads and streaming. This matter was settled too.

But it serves as a reminder how estate planning decisions may live on. Who thought about digital downloads or streaming back in those days? New technologies may come up that we could never have imagined. That’s why it is important to create estate plans that are flexible and provide a framework for settling disputes that may arise years later.

If you have questions about estate planning, feel free to contact us for a consultation by calling (626) 696-3145.

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