6 Famous People Who Died Without a Will

According to the BBC, only three in ten people in the UK have a will, and the Treasury gains millions each year (£53 million in 2010 and £76 million in 2009[1]) from the deaths of these people. Despite these facts, you might still be surprised to know these famous, wealthy individuals died intestate and without a will:

Amy Winehouse

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British singer and songwriter Amy Winehouse died tragically in 2011 as a result of accidental alcohol poisoning at just 27 years old.  She left no will, and her estate was worth $4.66 million. Her parents, Mitch and Janis, were eventually given the estate, and have since established The Amy Winehouse Foundation, which, according to the official website, “is supporting and empowering children in need through music therapy and music education and works to prevent the effects of drug and alcohol misuse on young people.”


Jimi Hendrix


After his death at the age of 32 in 1970, singer/songwriter Jimi Hendrix’s estate was fought over for years, due to the fact he died intestate, without a will. Initially the estate ended up with his father, Al Hendrix, but after his death in 2002, the battle over the rights to the estate continued. Hendrix’s siblings believed their father to have been unfairly influenced into changing his will, with “who owned Jimi Hendrix’s music” the overarching issue.

Martin Luther King

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Since his assassination in 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s family are still fighting over control of his estate. Considering he faced death threats as a civil activist, it’s surprising he didn’t make a will. Most recently, Dr. King’s children have been battling over his Nobel Peace Prize medal and bible.

Bob Marley

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You’d think a man suffering from cancer, who had six children by multiple mothers and assets of around $30 million, would think to write a will. Not so. Since his death in 1981, Marley’s estate has continued to generate significant posthumous revenue, and has led to bitter legal battles and feuding ever since, due to a lack of will, trust or estate planning.


Pablo Picasso

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Picasso was another to die without a will. In fact, it took six years for his estate to be settled following his intestate death in 1973. He left behind artwork, five homes, cash, gold and bonds to the value of $30 million, which were eventually divided between six heirs.