“Anthony Bourdain chased gusto all over the planet, occasionally tracking into war and disaster zones along the way. There were moments when he could’ve gotten in over his head and never come home. A personal disaster plan would have been the responsible way to approach that kind of life. From the way news of his death spread last week, it’s fairly clear that level of forethought, just wasn’t his style.”

Wealth Advisor’s recent article, “Anthony Bourdain Left Loved Ones In Limbo But The Heirs Will End Up Better Than Michael Jackson’s” says that Anthony Bourdain’s family needed a disaster plan to minimize strain in the worst moments and smooth the financial transition afterward. When his loved ones are already stunned and vulnerable, they now must make the hard decisions about managing the press, the authorities and the fans. We can only guess about his financial situation.

Although his life revolved around his personal participation in every venture, there’s no indication that the work can continue without him.

It doesn’t look like there was any succession planning here. It remains to be seen if there was a plan to keep his businesses afloat, without his personal participation.

Bourdain never really created much of an institution around himself: the copyright on his books was never assigned to any trust, holding company, or other entity. He received production credit on his shows, but the actual production company belonged to other people. In addition, there is no restaurant for his heirs to operate or sell off. His books are seeing a posthumous bestseller effect now. The odds are good that ratings of unaired episodes will be the best ever. Bourdain’s daughter will see her piece of that income.

If he left a will, the rights and royalties of those works may be placed into a trust for her now and to use when she’s an adult. Otherwise, the money flows into Unified Gifts To Minors Act (UGMA) accounts, while the assets themselves sit in Unified Transfers To Minors Act (UGTA) accounts, until she turns 18.

Unlike Michael Jackson’s kids, she has an immediate parental guardian to look out for her. It looks like Bourdain’s ex-wife received the $3 million New York condo as part of their divorce. She might already have all of the Bourdain cash, as it is. Otherwise, any child support now disappears.

Bourdain may have left plans for someone to monetize his legacy. With the right management, the Bourdain name and likeness could continue generating income. There could be book drafts to publish, TV concepts to pitch and restaurant concepts looking for investors. There is potential, and a creative and savvy executor can turn Bourdain’s name into the empire he never chased in life.

Reference: Wealth Advisor (June 10, 2018) “Anthony Bourdain Left Loved Ones In Limbo But The Heirs Will End Up Better Than Michael Jackson’s”

Suggested Key Terms: Estate Planning, Wills, Executor, Trusts, Asset Protection

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