From the outside looking in, probably no one pegged Kurt Cobain as the kind of guy who would have a will. And according to Trust Counsel, those instincts would be correct.
For one, most 27-year-olds probably don’t have wills, and even though Cobain was amassing a fortune thanks to the explosive popularity of his band, Nirvana, and had a daughter and a wife when he took his own life on April 5, 1994, something like a will was probably too much of a hassle. Rock star attitudes, serious depression, and heroin addiction aren’t conducive to sitting around making financial decisions with people in business suits.
So, Cobain died intestate, or without a will. In those cases, the fate of deceased people’s estates are decided in courts, according to Trust and Will. Cobain’s wife, Courtney Love, became the executor of his estate. Cobain’s daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, was just 20 months old when her famous father died by suicide but when she turned 18 she inherited 37% of Cobain’s estate, according to Trust Counsel, which had appreciated nicely.
In 2014, the estate was estimated to be worth $450 million. For all their money, though, both Love and Frances Bean have had some difficulty dealing with the financial windfall.
Money can't buy happiness
According to Insider, over the years, Love has lost $27 million of the money generated by Nirvana. In some cases, she sold off the rights to some of the ongoing income earned from Cobain’s estate. In other situations, Love, who has long allegedly had her own addictions and psychiatric issues, lost millions in lawsuits and settlements, some involving the other members of Nirvana.
Insider reported that Love once said, “I know that’s a lifetime of money to most people, but I’m a big girl. It’s rock ‘n’ roll. It’s Nirvana money — I had to let it go. I make enough to live on. I’m financially solvent. I focus on what I make now.”
For Frances’ part, she filed a restraining order against her mother in 2009 and was ultimately taken from Love’s custody. The mother and daughter have had a rocky relationship including occasional estrangement but in 2019, Page Six reported that Frances and Love were working toward a more healthy relationship.
But Frances’ relationship with her father’s money was fraught with guilt. According to USA Today, she said on the “RuPaul: What’s the Tee?” podcast, “My relationship to money is different because I didn’t earn it. It’s almost like this big, giant loan that I’ll never get rid of. I have an almost foreign relationship to it or guilt because it feels like money from somebody that I’ve never met, let alone haven’t earned myself.”
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