Don’t Do Me Like That: Tom Petty’s Widow, Daughter in Court Over Control of His Estate

Posted on May 22, 2019 by Amanda DiChello



Two years after rocker Tom Petty's sudden death, tensions between one of his two daughters and his second wife over the future of his estate have come to a head.

Allegations of angry emails, unauthorized decision making, and misrepresentations to the press about who's in charge of the estate have led to delayed projects, increasing animosity among family members who won't back down, and, most recently, litigation.

Petty died in 2017, just one week after finishing a concert tour. In his revocable trust, he named his widow, Dana York Petty, the sole trustee. Unfortunately, some of the rock star's last directives are in dispute.

Petty's widow and his older daughter from his first marriage, Adria Robin Petty, filed dueling petitions on April 2, 2019, in a Los Angeles probate court seeking more control over Petty's music catalog and legacy. And just this last week, Adria and her younger sister, Annakim Violette, filed a civil suit on behalf of Petty Unlimited LLC in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging that Dana was attempting to divert business opportunities from Petty Unlimited.

In her probate petition, Dana argues that, as the trust's sole trustee, she has the broad discretion to create a limited liability company to handle Petty's music-related assets. The trust leaves the details of running the company to Dana with one caveat---that his daughters be included "equally" in its management.

Dana is seeking an order to execute the limited liability company's operating agreement to establish a governance structure for making business decisions regarding her late husband's estate. She argues that a manager should be appointed to run the company on a day-to-day basis.  She also wants to require the manager to obtain unanimous consent from her and Petty's two daughters on certain significant business decisions.

With Dana and Adria continually butting heads over the future of Petty's catalog, his widow clearly wants to avoid a situation in which Adria and Annakim can shut her out with a two-to-one majority.

In her own petition, Adria asks the probate court to get the limited liability company up and running by ordering Dana to fund the company with Petty's music-related assets. Adria maintains that her father wanted his widow and two daughters to split control of his artistic estate three ways, and argues that Dana has refused to let Petty's daughters participate in the management of his assets, including the marketing of posthumously released albums.

In their separate suit, Petty's daughters, suing through Petty Unlimited -- the company set up under the provisions of the rock star's will, in which Dana is a manager -- allege that Dana formed a separate entity called Tom Petty Legacy LLC to compete with Petty Unlimited. The complaint alleges that, through Tom Petty Legacy, Dana has been interfering with and usurping the business opportunities to exploit Petty's intellectual property assets that rightfully belong to Petty Unlimited and names specific opportunities and transactions. The suit seeks more than $5 million in restitution, control of all of the assets and the profits generated from them, and an injunction to prevent Dana from further exploiting any of her late husband's assets. It also includes claims of breach of fiduciary duty against Dana individually.

Even though Petty's death was unexpected, he was far more prepared than other celebrities because he had an estate plan. Prince, for example, died intestate in 2016, which led to countless legal squabbles.

But the current dispute between Petty's widow and his two daughters essentially comes down to intent and interpretation of Petty's wishes. According to both petitions, Adria and Annakim "shall be entitled to participate equally" in the management of Petty's music-related assets, but there appears to be a clear difference of opinion as to what Petty intended.

Petty's revocable trust document does not specifically define what Petty meant by "participate equally." One interpretation is that he intended for Petty's two daughters to share 50% of the decision making between them, while Petty's wife would have the other 50%. The other interpretation is that Petty's daughters and his wife would each have an equal say in the decision making.

Petty's personal life wasn't nearly as complicated when he died as other music icons---James Brown married four times, fathered nine legitimate children and at least three illegitimate children, which practically guaranteed the family feuding that has ensued.

But the large amount of wealth and a labyrinth of music rights to be navigated in Petty's estate makes the current infighting between his widow and daughter from a previous marriage unsurprising. As much as Petty did to organize his affairs before his death, one might argue that he left one big loose end by not being specific enough about who gets to control what---and leaving it to the heirs to fight it out in court.

While Petty's widow and daughters currently may not be on the best of terms, asking the probate court to resolve their dispute may be the smartest move they could make. A hearing is scheduled for June, so stayed tuned.

Our Mission

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur elit, sed do eiusmod tempor ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

Our Plan

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo.

Our Vision

Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aut odit aut fugit, sed quia magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet.

Services

Laudem latine persequeris id sed, ex fabulas delectus quo. No vel partiendo abhorreant vituperatoribus, ad pro quaestio laboramus. Ei ubique vivendum pro. At ius nisl accusam lorenta zanos paradigno tridexa panatarel.

Lorem Ipsum

Voluptatum deleniti atque corrupti quos dolores et quas molestias excepturi sint occaecati cupiditate non provident

Dolor Sitema

Minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat tarad limino ata

Sed ut perspiciatis

Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur

Magni Dolores

Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum

Nemo Enim

At vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus qui blanditiis praesentium voluptatum deleniti atque

Eiusmod Tempor

Et harum quidem rerum facilis est et expedita distinctio. Nam libero tempore, cum soluta nobis est eligendi

Call To Action

Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Call To Action

Our Skills

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip

HTML 100%
CSS 90%
JavaScript 75%
Photoshop 55%

Facts

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque

274

Clients

421

Projects

1,364

Hours Of Support

18

Hard Workers

Our Portfolio

  • All
  • App
  • Card
  • Web

App 1

App

Web 3

Web

App 2

App

Card 2

Card

Web 2

Web

App 3

App

Card 1

Card

Card 3

Card

Web 1

Web

Our Clients

Testimonials

Team

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque

Walter White

Chief Executive Officer

Sarah Jhonson

Product Manager

William Anderson

CTO

Amanda Jepson

Accountant

Contact Us

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque

Address

A108 Adam Street, NY 535022, USA

Phone Number

+1 5589 55488 55

Your message has been sent. Thank you!