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Fame, Family Fueds, Lack of Estate Planning, and Ethical Misconduct in the Administration of the Billion-Dollar Legacy og Bob Marley

McKen V. Carrington, Texas Southern University, Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Abstract

The Marley Story: When Bob Marley died in Miami on May 11, 1981, he left no succession plan, no will, his wife, Rita, and 11 children by seven women. Marley’s deathbed request to his lawyer, David Steinberg was to secure the rights to his songs for his family. With an estate valued at $30 million and no direction as to how to collect the intangible assets for the family, it was left to the Babylon System to sort out the distribution of Marley’s wealth. The assets, primarily song publishing, recording and licensing, were held in three separate offshore corporations – Bob Marley Music, Media Arts, and Tuff Gong. It took decades of litigation to determine who can inherit Marley’s empire of intellectual property now valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. Although Marley was a cancer patient for more than a year, his Rastafarian belief does not believe in the reality of death. So although Marley had done sophisticated business planning through his New York accountant, Marvin Zolt and Philadelphia lawyer, David Steinberg, he did not put into place any directions for his survivors.

Suggested Citation

McKen V. Carrington. "Fame, Family Fueds, Lack of Estate Planning, and Ethical Misconduct in the Administration of the Billion-Dollar Legacy og Bob Marley" Estate Planning & Community Property Law Journal 4.1 (2011): 53-77.

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