I love 80's music.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I love 80s music. 

It brings me back to the days long before iTunes, YouTube, and instant downloads. I remember listening to Casey Kasem do the weekend Top 40 countdown, and many days where I would sit next to my radio, waiting for my favorite songs to come on. I was attempting to hit the RECORD button at exactly the right time to get my favorites on tape, and hoping against hope that the DJ would not start talking before the song ended, and ruin my recording. 

My kids have never experienced that – they’ve always had whatever songs they wanted right at their fingertips and can command Alexa to play virtually every song ever made, at their whim. But for me, 80s music takes me back to a simpler time. The time before cell phones, when we were connected 24 seven, and just hanging out with my cousins or buddies and maybe lip-syncing a song or two. To this day, my cousin Joey and I still share the same brain when it comes to 80s music, and 80's TV theme songs as well, and I would challenge anyone to try and beat us at “Name That Tune” with songs or TV shows from that era. 

When I heard that Ric Ocasek, lead singer of The Cars, passed away recently from heart disease, it made me nostalgic for those days. The Cars were a band that had Boston roots, and they were one of those groups that I was patiently waiting for on Saturday mornings, trying to record their songs. Who doesn’t love music as  You Might Think, (Uh Oh It’s) Magic, Drive, Just What I Needed, and Hello Again . That’s just scratching the surface. Everyone remembers the pool scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which had Moving in Stereo playing in the background (C’mon, I was a teenage boy at the time!)

Who could forget their videos? Back in the days when MTV played videos, The Cars’ videos were always filled with animation and super cool graphics. We saw Ric Ocasek walking on water in Uh Oh It’s Magic, standing on the surface of an in-ground pool. In the video, anyone else who tried to walk on the water with him jumped in and sank directly to the bottom. 

Whenever I hear of the passing of a celebrity that I am a fan of, the lawyer in me instantly wonders about their estate planning and whether they set up the right tools. Lots of times, celebrities don’t put estate plans together, and we hear tales of their families fighting it out in court. That means lots of time lost and wasting money on court and legal fees. From what I gather, Rick Ocasek had a plan, and given his situation, he did the right thing by one. 

Here are three reasons why Ric Ocasek needed an Estate Plan:

  1. First, he maintained a great relationship with his ex-wife. Anyone who lived through the '80s knows that Ric was married to Sports Illustrated supermodel Paulina Porizkova. They divorced after Almost 30 years of marriage but remained very close. She was taking care of him at the end when he no longer could take care of himself. But because they were divorced, she would not have any right to his assets. Assuming that he wanted to repay her for taking care of him over his last years, he must provide for her in his Will. Otherwise, as an ex-spouse, she would be entitled to nothing. Anyone who sees us through our darkest times deserves something in return. 

  1. Next, he had six children from three different wives. I am not judging, but a situation like that can spell disaster if there is not an adequate estate plan in place. Did he want to leave anything to the ex-wives? And to his kids? Or was he trying to deliberately dis-inherit the ex-wives, and have assets pass to the kids directly? If the children are minors, then a trust needs to be set up, and appropriate individuals (called Trustees) put in place to manage the money. Otherwise, the money would go to the children’s guardians, with no oversight whatsoever. That can spell disaster because there’s no guarantee that those kids will ever see a dime if their guardians spend it all. Anyone with young children should have a trust put in place for them. 

  1. Lastly, let’s face it, the guy had money. His assets are described as being in the $80 million range. Not surprising for someone who had over a dozen top 40 singles and is in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. Most of us don’t come near to having that kind of dough, but anyone with over $25,000 in assets should have a Will. With money like that, the potential for fighting and confusion is huge, and the only way to deal with it properly is by having specific instructions. In its simplest form, that’s all a Will is. It’s a set of instructions that needs to be followed at your passing. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but it needs to be succinct, with as little left to chance as possible.

Although none of us ever really know our celebrity heroes, idols, and heartthrobs, from what I can tell this was a good guy. We will miss you, Ric Ocasek. You helped make my childhood fun. I hope you’re somewhere walking on water for real. Godspeed.

Interested in learning more about what type of plan you need?

Download my free book on Estate Planning & Elder Law HERE.

For an update on Ric's estate, read our updated blog on him here!

Michael Monteforte, Jr.
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Tom Foster 09/28/2019 05:36 AM
fantastic article about an amazing musician we will miss very much
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Stephanie O'Hanley 11/08/2019 02:34 PM
They were not divorced. The divorce was not finalized at the time of his death. Now it's being reported that Ric Ocasek stipulated in his will that Paulina not receive anything at all even if the divorce was not finalized at the time of his death because she "abandoned" him. Is that type of stipulation legal? Surely there would have been a divorce settlement had they divorced?
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Michael Monteforte Jr. 11/08/2019 02:47 PM
Stephanie, Ive been hearing conflicting reports as well. Typically, a divorce settlement also deals with inheritance and your estate, but every State has its own rules. Divorce can even revoke a pre-existing Will. But it all depends on the jurisdiction.
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