Earlier this year, we talked about Tom Petty’s estate and how family drama has reached a boiling point. Daughter Adria and widow Dana York Petty have been entangled in the estate of the late rock icon for at least a year and a half now.
At first, we talked about how Adria and her sister Annakim have tried to delay some of the upcoming albums that featured Tom. The reason is that while Dana York Petty is indeed the sole trustee of Tom’s estate, the trust orders her to establish and an entity to control his music catalog – along with equal participation from his daughters. However, Dana York asserted that the children took the equal participation context as a way to gain control through a majority ruling.
The downward spiral has continued and according to Vulture, the spiral has gotten down to a matter where Adria and Dana York Petty are in dispute over… salad dressing. Yes, you read that right. Honest to goodness salad dressing, where does this rabbit hole of qualms end? According to the story, Adria wants to use her father’s likeness to promote a salad dressing brand.
Dana York however, sees the idea of Tom being on a salad dressing brand to be “unlike Tom.” According to the writing in the filing, Dana York’s attorney stated how “Tom would never have permitted such a thing, he never ‘sold out’ while he was alive and refused to do any such thing despite numerous opportunities. Dana is certain Tom’s fans would also find it a sad perversion of Tom’s legacy.”
Once again, this shows us all the struggle there can be when putting together an estate plan. If you remember from the last entry on Tom Petty, we left off asking if Tom’s daughters have the right to assert a two-thirds majority vote in control of the music catalog, or if they had to work in junction with Dana York. This situation however is different because unlike last time, this is not related to Petty’s music catalog.
That means everything related to the estate must go through Dana York, who by law, is only required to work in junction with Tom’s daughters when it comes to his music. Everything Adria wants to do with something in relation to her father’s estate must be done so without an issue being raised from Dana York. With this said, there is an interesting perspective that can be pulled out here – and that’s what each thought of Tom.
If you remember the last entry, you’ll know that Adria was adamantly against Tom’s rock star lifestyle, which prompted her to demand that “The Heartbreakers” – the group that Petty played and toured with – would be left off one of Petty’s upcoming posthumous albums. Clearly to Dana York, she saw no problem with The Heartbreakers being left on the album. However, what she has a problem with it seems is presenting Tom Petty in a different manner than his rock star persona.
If his likeness being on a bottle of salad dressing was enough to set off Dana York, then it’s clear that the way in which Adria saw her father was always different than how Dana York and the public perceived him. Remember – Dana York’s attorney said in the filing that this salad dressing would be a “sad perversion of Tom’s legacy.” Now about this salad dressing – there’s reason that Adria would want Tom’s likeness on a bottle of salad dressing.
In his last interview with Rolling Stone, Petty said that he had been a vegetarian for almost five years. This serves as a perfect reason as to why Adria would pursue this kind of a deal involving Tom’s likeness. To Adria, she sees a legacy that Petty can leave beyond the music catalog. Sure, it’s branding in the end, but it’s also sending a positive message about what Tom supported. Clearly, she wants people to not always remember the rock star life style Petty lived and remember him for being more than just a performer.
It’s understandable that the way in which Dana York has seen Tom Petty differs from the way in which Adria sees him. Therefore, the qualm seems to only be natural because to them, they remember Tom Petty in a different way. Something else that’s understandable is that having an estate plan can help tremendously. You don’t need to be a rock star in order to have one. In fact, you yourself should have an estate plan. That way, you can lay the groundwork and designate assets and branding entities (likeness, existing products, etc.) in a way you believe everyone can be content.
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