An Estate Plan for Kanye West

43 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2020

See all articles by Thomas Simmons

Thomas Simmons

University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law

Date Written: September 14, 2020


One inventory item in megastar Kanye West’s vast portfolio merits particular care – his right of publicity. The right of publicity, a property interest, represents the commercial value of a celebrity’s name, image, and likeness. In some states, the right survives the celebrity’s death and is freely alienable. Postmortem use and transferability restrictions on property with particular importance to the testator are often pursued by means of a trust. A noncharitable purpose trust as a means by which West’s right of publicity can be safeguarded and utilized appropriately is proposed here. After framing hypothetical estate planning objectives for Kanye West, and disposing of several alternative possibilities, a noncharitable purpose trust which accomplishes those objectives is described.

Keywords: Estates, Trusts, Right of Publicity, Purpose Trusts

JEL Classification: K10, K11, K39

Suggested Citation

Simmons, Thomas, An Estate Plan for Kanye West (September 14, 2020). Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 39, No. 2, 2021, Available at SSRN:

Thomas Simmons (Contact Author)

University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law ( email )

414 E. Clark Street
Law School suite 212
Vermillion, SD 57069
United States
605.658.3533 (Phone)
605.677.5417 (Fax)


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