The untimely death of superstar Prince has brought a surprising issue to American living rooms: estate planning. If current reports are correct that Prince died without a will, state law and the Court system will dictate who controls and inherits his sizable estate. It is also likely that taxing entities will take a bigger bite out of his estate – costing his family millions, unnecessarily — before anyone inherits anything. All of this could have been avoided and there’s an important lesson here for you and your family.
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“Life is just a party, and parties weren’t meant to last.” – Prince
Prince died on Thursday, April 21, at the age of 57, in Carver County, Minnesota. He had one half-sister, Tyka Nelson. He also had six half-siblings. Prince was predeceased by both of his parents and two of his half-siblings. He was divorced twice and had no living children.
Ms. Nelson recently filed documents with the Carver County probate court, asserting that she believed that her brother died without a will. She also asked that the court appoint a special administrator to handle Prince’s affairs until a personal administrator was appointed. A judge appointed a banking affiliate to serve in this role temporarily.
When a person passes away without a will, they are said to have died “intestate.” When this happens, state law directs the distribution of the person’s property, known as the “estate” through a process called probate. And, it’s up to the Court to decide who controls the estate.
If Prince indeed died without a will, these statutes will result in his siblings dividing his estate, including his half-siblings. This may or may not be what Prince would have wanted, had he made provisions himself. And, his estate is likely to be overseen by a paid executor, instead of a family member or friend he would have chosen.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.” – Prince
So, what does this mean for you?
Just like Prince, if you do not plan for your death, your family will get stuck in Court and could end up in conflict as well. It’s an unnecessary expense to your family, causes additional heartache and grief, and is totally avoidable.
Let Prince’s death be an inspiration to you to leave your loved ones with a legacy of love, not a big mess to clean up. The Parents Estate Planning Law Firm can help.
As a Personal Family Lawyer®, I can further advise you on all your options and make things as easy as possible for your family during a Family Wealth Planning Session. If you would like to have a talk about estate planning for your family, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk.
To your family’s health, wealth and happiness!
P.S. Want to get started on the most important planning you’ll ever do for your family? Give our office a call at (978) 263-6900 to get started. You’ll be so glad you did.
David Feakes is the owner of The Parents Estate Planning Law Firm, PC – a law firm for families in the Acton, Massachusetts area. David helps parents protect the people they love the most. If you would like to receive David’s exclusive, free report, “Six Major Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing An Estate Planning Attorney,” you can get it right here.