Maya Angelou is possibly the most famous poet of modern times. She was chosen by Bill Clinton to recite her poem "On the Pulse of Morning"
at his first inauguration. The autobiography of the first part of her life, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, is well known by high school students across the country.
When she died in 2014 she was mourned by entertainers and politicians around the world. She left her estate to a foundation called the "Caged Bird Legacy" set up to take care of her intellectual property. The Legacy was run by her son, Guy Bailey Johnson, and grandson, Colin Ashanti Murphy-Johnson. Guy had a 75% interest and Colin had a 25% interest.
In 2017, Guy filed suit against Colin claiming that he was diverting income without his consent. Guy also claimed that Colin tricked him into giving up his share of the foundation.
According to Guy, Colin had borrowed $150,000 from the company and had it pay him $300,000 in order to fund his "extravagant lifestyle." Colin also had excluded his father from having any meaningful input into the foundation. Because of this, the Legacy could no longer pay its bills.
In June of 2017, a third party participating in contract negotiations insisted that Guy be included. Colin sent his father threatening messages that he'd better sign the agreement or he would declare war against him and he would "feel the pain of losing money and all he has."
In October, a restraining order was put in place, stating elder abuse on the side of Colin. So what happened to the Caged Bird Legacy? There's a page devoted to it on the Maya Angelou website, and her novels and poems are still widely known. I wasn't able to find information about what happened with the lawsuit.
How to avoid this? The easiest way is to appoint an independent party to be in charge of your Trust or estate. There are even companies that do just this. Better yet, we can help you
find a company and prepare your documents.