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Tom Petty’s Estate Lawsuit Is Finally Settled, But What Took So Long?

Rock legend Tom Petty passed away suddenly on October 2, 2017, and only a week after completing his celebratory 40th anniversary tour with his longtime band, the Heartbreakers.

Petty, 66, was done with epic long-haul tours, ready to scale things back, spend more time with his family, and perhaps play fewer shows and smaller venues. But tragically, Petty passed away from mixed drug toxicity.

And unfortunately, since his death, there’s been a long-winded battle over his estate between his widow, Dana York Petty, and two daughters, Adria Petty and Annakim Violette.

After months of a long-heated legal battle, a settlement agreement was reached on December 10, according to Rolling Stone.

The Disagreement 

The daughters accused Dana of ignoring Petty’s wishes. The three of them were meant to have equal say in the estate’s decision-making.

Allegedly, Dana didn’t follow Tom Petty’s wishes expressly laid out in his will.

For example, Petty’s “artistic property” assets were meant to go into a separate company handled by all three women involved. The allegation is that Dana never made the transfer, keeping control to herself.

The sisters sought and fought for her to respect Petty’s wishes in court. Based off court documents, their lawyer argued:

Tom Petty wanted his music and his legacy to be controlled equally by his daughters, Adria and Annakim, and his wife, Dana. Dana has refused Tom’s express wishes and insisted instead upon misappropriating Tom’s life’s work for her own selfish interests. After countless efforts to resolve this matter amicably and out of court, we could no longer stand idly by and watch Dana disrespect Tom’s wishes, his music and his legacy.”

The Story Only Gets Uglier with Petty’s Widow 

And if you think that’s bad, just wait, because the story only gets uglier from there.

Dana claims she runs the estate, but Petty’s two daughters from a previous marriage are only causing problems and delays on future projects.

However, from court documents, Dana paints an entirely different picture, arguing that her daughters have “pushed her out.”

This misguided and meritless lawsuit sadly demonstrates exactly why Tom Petty designated his wife to be the sole trustee with authority to manage his estate,” Dana’s lawyer indicated in a statement. “Dana will not allow destructive nonsense like this to distract her from protecting her husband’s legacy.”

Apparently, from what TMZ obtained, Petty’s daughters were reaching out to members of the Heartbreakers, protesting and criticizing everything going on. It doesn’t read well or make for a good look, but perhaps their anger is justified. 

Wildflowers Anniversary Edition Delayed

The whole dispute has caused delays for a couple of Tom Petty projects, including a 25th anniversary release of his greatest album, “Wildflowers.”

Produced by Rick Rubin, Petty made loads of unreleased songs during that time that have never seen the light of day. The plan was to finally release those much talked about songs, but the dispute led to their delay. A disappointment for any serious Tom Petty fan.

Dana believes the box-set would earn millions in royalties, but the daughters (allegedly) blocked the release. Apparently, they thought the album’s 25th anniversary wasn’t the right time to release a box set with unheard material, which sounds peculiar. 

The Matter Resolved 
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It’s always a shame to see this happen to a rocker’s work and legacy. It’ll hardly influence what people remember about Tom Petty and his music, but it’s unfortunate for all involved and the Petty name.

It all started with a $5 million lawsuit against Dana, who’s now settled the matter. Neither parties’ lawyers released official statements.

What’s next for the Petty estate and his music is a question mark as well, but hopefully one day, that “Wildflowers” box set is out in the world for our listening pleasure. It’d be a shame for those unreleased gems to stay hidden forever.