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"All You Need is Love" ...and a good estate plan

Updated: Apr 12, 2019

John Lennon's son says "Money (That's What I Want)" to stepmother, who says "We Can Work it Out" after a 16 year battle.



In our first edition of "Heirs Behaving Badly" we'll take a look at the estate of John Lennon, because this week in April of 1970 is the day the Beatles officially announced their breakup.  John Lennon left the Beatles, but he had also left his first wife, Cynthia, and his son from that marriage, Julian. 

 

Lennon later married Yoko Ono and had a second son, Sean.  In 1980, Lennon was gunned down, leaving Yoko Ono and an accountant in charge of a trust, the beneficiaries of which are believed to have been Yoko Ono and their son, Sean.  Because Ono was also named as the executrix of Lennon’s estate, she also had complete control over John Lennon’s image, legacy, and much of his song rights. Lennon's first-born son, Julian, received nothing under the estate plan, and whether this was caused by poor estate drafting or intentional neglect, we will never know.  But for the next 16 years, Julian, battled step-mother Yoko Ono for a share of the estate.  It was a long and bitter battle and Julian reportedly settled in 1996, after 16 years of fighting, for a figure around 20 million pounds. 



John Lennon and son Julian with Lennon's psychedelic Rolls-Royce Phantom V

“Estate battles are very common, especially in blended families or in the case of second marriages. Challenging a will or trust is never easy and may take many years to resolve.”

 

Estate battles are very common, especially in blended families or in the case of second marriages.  Challenging a will or trust is never easy and may take many years to resolve.  So, no one really wins when there is a long and expensive fight over an estate, but proper planning can almost eliminate these issues. 


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