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Martin Luther King's children act as executors of his estate

Many in Nevada recall the heroic actions of Dr. Martin Luther King and his compatriots during the 1960s. Those involved in the civil rights movement fought to gain equal rights for all people. Their efforts made Dr. King a legend. It is that image that is at the center of a lawsuit between his estate, with his children as executors, and one of his former aides.

At the time that Dr. King was killed, Andrew Young was a young man working with him in the civil rights movement. Since that time, Young has acted as a mayor, an ambassador and a congressman. Recently, he was a part of a group that produced a movie about King and the civil rights movement. Many images of King were used to make the film.

The estate of Dr. King has sued, alleging that the use of the images was a violation of copyrights held by the estate. The copyrighting of the images allows those who are heirs and beneficiaries of King to gain the value of the use of his image. His children, the executors of the estate, have a duty to protect its assets. This is why they say they must sue to retain the rights to the image of Dr. King.

In estate planning, it is common for people in Nevada and elsewhere to appoint executors and/or trustees to distribute assets after they die. In this case, the children of King were appointed. Though few estates have the longevity or fame of that of Martin Luther King's, the actions of those charged with maintaining the estate are similar. To help ensure the best outcome in Nevada, people often find it helpful to not only carefully consider the appointments of executors but also to review all applicable laws before creating and executing estate planning documents.

Source: ABC6, Andrew Young at odds with MLK's children, Deepti Hajela, Nov. 22, 2013

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