It's been a little over a week since Lou Reed died, and in this week's New Yorker Patti Smith has penned a beautiful little tribute—"Lou had chosen the perfect day to set sail... the birthday of both Dylan Thomas and Sylvia Plath—the day of poets." It's a cruel fact of life that the last published words delivered to the world will likely be one's will, even for a poet like Reed—but here we are...
Reed's will was filed yesterday in Manhattan Surrogate's Court, and he left everything to his wife, his sister and his mother, who is now 93-years-old. According to DNAInfo, Laurie Anderson was left the couple's West Village and East Hampton homes, along with Reed's art, photographs, jewelry, clothing, automobiles and boats, and his interest in Sister Ray Enterprises (which holds the rights to his songs). However, it's his longtime business manager and accountant, Robert Gotterer and David Gotterer who were left trustees of his estate, and were directed to collect royalties, negotiate contracts, secure copyrights and licenses.
As for Reed's sister, Margaret Reed Weiner, she was left 25% of his residuary estate, and $500,000—being told: “It is my hope and desire, without imposing any legal obligation, that my said sister will use a portion of this cash bequest to help care for our mother, Toby Reed, for the balance of her life."
It's unclear what the value of Reed's estate was at the time of his death, but it goes without saying that his cultural contribution is infinitely more valuable—as Smith wrote, "He was our generation’s New York poet, championing its misfits as Whitman had championed its workingman and Lorca its persecuted."