The last will and testament of the late superstar Isaac Hayes's is being probated right now. And guess what? Hayes left nothing to the Church of Scientology.
This news must sting something awful, as numerous well-known Scientologists attended not one but maybe four different funerals and memorial services for Hayes in August after he died.
But according to sources who know the inner workings of Hayes's estate, the "Shaft" composer divided his will in thirds. Portions go to his 11 elder children; his widow and young son; and his charitable foundation.
There was no provision for the Church, which ordinarily requires its celebrity members to pony up while they're alive. Big donors include usual suspects Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kelly Preston, and so on.
Preston, who knew Hayes only slightly through the church, carried on at both Memphis funerals, crying on cue and blubbering to anyone who'd listen about how much she "loved" Hayes. This amused to no end the Memphis musicians who'd known Hayes for 40 years.
According to insiders, the big question now is how to handle the third going to the Isaac Hayes Foundation. Because the organization is not now terribly active, some legal moves may be made to redistribute that part of the estate to the other heirs.
Hayes's eldest daughter, Jacqueline, is said to be in the forefront of trying to settle all matters. Certainly Hayes's heirs are keeping a keen eye on their father's copyrights. Many of them were renewed beginning in 1995-96 for a second 28 year term. But when those start expiring in 2024, the family will come into a fortune thanks to the Songwriters Act of 1927:
Rights to previously sold catalogs revert to songwriters' heirs once they have died, as soon as copyrights are up for renewal. Thus, Hayes's half of songs he wrote for Sam Moore & Dave Prater with David Porter in 1965-68, like "Soul Man" and "Hold On I'm Coming" will go to Hayes's grandkids and great grand kids. By 2028, the biggest Hayes copyright, "Theme from Shaft," will come to them as well.