B.B. King’s Estate: Now the Daughters Are Singing the Blues

B.B. King’s Estate: Now the Daughters Are Singing the Blues

B.B. King, the ambassador of the blues, died on May 14 at the age of 89. He performed in front of presidents and a pope, at the Royal Albert Hall and the Cook County Jail. He did TV commercials for Toyota and Burger King, won 15 Grammys and belted out tales of love and heartbreak. But B.B. King’s heart would be breaking if he were alive today and knew what his daughters were up to.

Daughters allege their father was poisoned by manager and assistant

It’s only been a few weeks, but B.B. King’s daughters, Karen Williams and Patty King, are alleging that their father was poisoned and are accusing King’s manager, LaVerne Toney, and his personal assistant Myron Johnson, of giving him nightly doses of an unknown foreign substance before his death. Nevada’s Clark County coroner’s office is investigating the claims, but the coroner has said there is no immediate evidence of wrongdoing. Until they find that he died from anything other than natural causes, the police will not open an investigation. Brent Bryson, a lawyer acting for the King estate, has also dismissed the claims.

Allegations motivated by money

King had set up a Trust for his descendants, but reportedly left sums of only $3,000–5,000/each to his 15 children; he left the remainder of his estate for their education. “B.B. did not have a very high formal education, and he wanted to have his lineage go to college, so he set up a Trust that would pay for college and other expenses.” Giving his children all-expense paid education is a pretty wonderful gift, but apparently some of King’s progeny aren’t as excited about this opportunity as he had hoped.

The source of the daughters’ suspicion

Karen and Patty’s attorney insists they have nothing to gain financially—they’re only after the truth. The daughters maintain that family members were not allowed to see B.B. the week before he died, yet one of his granddaughters had, indeed, visited him in his final few days. Keep in mind that B.B. King had been ailing and had enlisted the support of Hospice. King’s attending physician reported that he died of multi-infarct dementia, also known as vascular dementia—a condition caused by a series of small strokes, related to King’s chronic diabetes, which caused reduced blood flow.

So who’s going to be singing the blues?

How is this going to end? We know that when there’s a lot of money at stake, it’s not unlikely that unhappy heirs will challenge a Trust. Keep in mind also that earning power doesn’t necessarily end at death–last year’s incomes from the estates of Elvis Presley ($49 million) and John Lennon ($44 million) demonstrate that value continues to increase posthumously.

Avoid dispute with a no-contest clause

We don’t know the details, but King might have avoided his daughters’ disputing the Trust by including a no-contest clause, which states that any heir who challenges a Will shall receive nothing at all. Perhaps King’s mistake was in not leaving his ungrateful daughters a little more money—enough so it was not worth a court battle. Instead, he left them good intentions and a college education so they could make their own fortunes. This one isn’t over yet.

You don’t need to have an estate to need an estate plan—it’s a way to ensure that your assets will be distributed among your heirs according to your wishes. Stop in to one of California Document Preparers’ three Bay Area locations to get started. We help make this easy for you. 

ian
ian@cadocpreparers.com