The Story of How David Bowie’s Cremation Request Was Denied

Singer David Bowie sadly passed away on January 10, 2016, and his will was rather surprising. The legal document consists of 20-pages and was prepared by Herbert E. Nass, a lawyer from Manhattan, in 2004. Nass is also the writer of a book about the contents of celebrities’ wills. The contents of the will were first filed shortly after his death at Surrogate’s Court, Manhattan.

Although the will revealed that the performer had an estate valued at approximately $100 million, there was no breakdown of his holdings. However, this was not the biggest surprise as this was that the entire contents of the will did not mention the name ‘David Bowie’ once. This is because the singer never legally changed his name and retained his birth name, which is David Robert Jones. Therefore, his legal name was used throughout the document.

Included in the will were his properties. During the late 1990s, Bowie bought two neighboring SoHo apartments for $4 million and combined them to create one large apartment. This was bequeathed to his late wife, model Iman Abdulmajid Jones. The remainder of his properties were left to his children. He has a son, Duncan, from his first marriage to Angela Barnett and one daughter, Alexandria Zahra, with his second wife Iman. However, as his daughter is not yet 18, his Ulster County mountain retreat is in trust until she comes of age.

There was also a select few people with whom the star was close named in the will. His personal assistant Corinne Schwab, who is known as Coco, received both $2 million and his Opossum Inc. stock. The latter was added into the will as a codicil. Another person named was his former nanny Marion Skene who inherited $1 million from the star.

A further interesting aspect of Bowie’s will is that he had specified his wishes with regards to his cremation and ashes. During the 1990s, he had vacationed with Iggy Pop to the Indonesian island, Bali. It created such an impression that the had a personal refuge built on Mustique. The refuge was intended as a retreat for himself and he opted to have it built in an Indonesian style that was influenced by Bali. Prior to his death, Bowie had explained in an interview that his intention was for the building to be very different to the typical style associated with the Caribbean and described this location as a fantasy island. This property was not included in the will as he sold it in 1992.

As he found this island so beautiful, he also asked to be cremated and have his ashes scattered there. Bowie had originally asked for the cremation to take place there following Buddhist rituals. However, He did specify that if a cremation In Bali was not possible, He would settle for his ashes being transported to the island following the cremation. Documents have now revealed that He was actually cremated on January 12 in New Jersey and his ashes were later shipped to the island for scattering. Therefore, the former part of his cremation wishes was denied.

There were originally two executors of Bowie’s will; William Zysblat, his former business manager, and Paddy Grafton Green, a London lawyer. At a later date, Mr. Green decided to step aside from his role as executor and this was indicated In the will. As a result of Mr. Green stepping down from this role, the sole executor of David Bowie’s estate was William Zysblat.


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