When rocker Lou Reed died last month from complications following a liver transplant, numerous musicians and music lovers testified to the rich musical legacy he left behind. His work with the Velvet Underground and on his own has influenced generations of musicians, including pretty much the entirety of Washington's famous alternative rock scene.
However, he also left behind a legacy of a much more concrete and personal nature. When he died, Reed left behind a will that ensured the well-being of his sister and his wife, musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson.
Reed's will provided that about a quarter of his estate would go to his sister, along with a bequest of $500,000 which was to provide for their mother. Reed left his Manhattan penthouse, a vacation home and the remainder of his estate to Anderson.
That estate is likely to grow as sales and airplay of Reed's work skyrocketed after the news of his death. The Velvet Underground famously sold very few albums during their active years, and other than the hit "Walk On the Wild Side," his solo work never made much of a commercial impact. However, after his death, industry watchers reported huge increases in sales, radio airplay and online streams of his work. According to Nielsen SoundScan, sales of his solo work jumped 607 percent the week of his death over the week before. All of this is likely to result in increased revenue from royalties.
Few Washington residents can boast anything like Reed's body of work or even his relatively modest sales figures. Still, almost everyone has something he or she would like to preserve in order to ensure the well-being of their family. Reed's story provides a reminder that a will is a vital part of a simple and effective estate plan.
Source: CBS News, "Lou Reed leaves estate to wife, sister," Nov. 5, 2013