Death of legendary rocker may be followed by a dispute over his estate
Ian Fraser Kilmister (December 24, 1945 – December 28, 2015) was the founder and lead singer of the British band Motorhead. Also known as “Lemmy”, he passed away at age 70 after a battle with an aggressive form of cancer. His talent and his band’s music have influenced the heavy metal genre for decades. Shortly after his death, stories began to emerge about a possible dispute over his estate. One of the original stories is found here.
His estate is estimated to be worth approximately $10 million. Furthermore, given his prolific music career, his estate is likely to keep earning royalties from his work for decades to come. This is likely to become an important issue in a potential estate dispute given the track records of posthumous sales generated in the estates of other superstar musicians.
A recent story on Bloomberg Business found here, illustrates the kinds of sales generated by various musicians after death. For example, even though Jimi Hendrix passed away on September 18, 1970 from an drug overdose, his album sales since the year 1991 exceed 15.5 million copies. Michael Jackson passed away on June 25, 2009, yet his album sales since his death surpass 2.3 million copies. It is easy to see why any potential beneficiaries of the Kilmister estate would litigate if there are an uncertainties as to how the estate assets and rights to royalties are to be allocated.
Further complicating the situation with the Kilmister estate is that it is unclear whether a valid will was in place. There is also some uncertainty as to how many beneficiaries there are. One son named Paul Inder is a music producer in Los Angeles. There is another son, a computer programmer, who was adopted in early life. There is also allegedly a third son with a French woman, of whom Mr. Kilmister spoke in past interviews.
Although this scenario is in its early stages, it is clear that it has the potential to evolve into a prolonged estate dispute. It will be interesting to see what happens next.
For more news on this dispute click here.