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What David Bowie can teach us about proper estate planning

When you hear names like John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Tupac Shakur, you invariably think of their respective catalogues of transformative and altogether timeless music, as well as their tragic early deaths.

The last thing you probably think about when you hear these names, however, is how all of them failed to have a proper estate plan in place, such that their valuable estates become embroiled in costly and time-consuming legal battles in the years after their passing.

Indeed, while a lack of necessary estate planning seems to be endemic in the music industry, there is one legendary artist who experts are now praising for his efforts to ensure that his heirs would be in the best possible position upon his passing.

The artist in question is none other than the iconic David Bowie, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 69 after losing his battle with liver cancer.

While Bowie will forever be remembered for his diverse and always intriguing body of work, he may also go on to be remembered for his skill in building and likely protecting a fortune.

Indeed, it’s well known that back in the late 90s that Bowie, with the assistance of an investment banker, created and sold so-called “Bowie Bonds,” which netted him $55 million while enabling him to keep his rights to his music.

These bonds, which were secured by the royalties and copyrights from his music, were structured like an annuity, paying the purchaser — Prudential Insurance — a fixed-return rate of 7.9 percent over 10 years.

While details of his estate plan have yet to be made public, experts believe that it’s likely his $200 million-plus fortune will be inherited largely by his wife with sizeable bequests going to his two children. Furthermore, experts are confident that someone who demonstrated as much financial savvy as Bowie likely utilized some form or irrevocable or revocable trusts to pass on his assets, a move that would serve to maximize tax savings and keep matters private.

If you would like to learn more about ways to protect your own assets through comprehensive estate planning, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible. 

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