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Photo of Professionals at McCoy Fatula, APC

Even after careful estate planning, family feuds sometimes occur

On Behalf of | Aug 12, 2016 | Estate Planning

Rock star Frank Zappa died more than 20 years ago. Apparently, even though there had been an estate planning process, his children have still become engaged in an ongoing battle with each other regarding the family business, rights to certain music and merchandise and various other aspects of their father’s legacy. Mrs. Zappa, the adult children’s mother, died in 2015, but not before making some very strange statements to one of her daughters. Some in California may be facing similar issues.

Moon Zappa, one of four siblings, claims her mother begged her forgiveness for something she had done before she died. After her mother’s death, Moon apparently realized that  hers and her brother Dweezil’s ownership in the family business was reduced to 20 percent, while the other two siblings were given 30 percent stakes in the estate. Moon complained that her mother’s actions were unjust and reduced hers and Dweezil’s positions in the family empire to mere shareholders without any decision-making power.

Another point of discord simmering among the Zappa children concerns Dweezil’s right to play his father’s music on stage, to use the stage name “Zappa Plays Zappa” while touring and to sell his father’s merchandise.  His brother Ahmet says he can no longer do so without express permission from the estate. Dweezil reportedly refuses to comply and will simply no longer offer his father’s merchandise to the public. His brother says that will only hurt the entire family because it takes potential income away from the family business.

Obviously, estate planning is no guarantee that those who live on after an estate owner will not argue over certain issues. However, more often than not, careful planning helps prevent contentious debates among family members. Those in California who wish to avoid such complications may seek guidance from an experienced probate and estate administration attorney.

Source:, “Inside the Zappa Family Feud“, David Browne, Aug. 2, 2016

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