The unexpected news of the death of superstar Prince brought the surprising topic of estate planning into the American living rooms. If current reports are correct that Prince died without a will, state law and the Court system will dictate who controls and inherits his sizeable 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.
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.
If Prince indeed died without a will, his siblings and half-siblings will inherit his estate and, his estate is likely to be overseen by a paid executor, instead of a family member or friend he would have chosen. This may or may not be what Prince would have wanted, had he made provisions himself. Prince was a philanthropist. According to some reports, he supported civil rights causes, education and even made anonymous gifts to strangers who were in need. How could a man who fought so hard to re-gain control over his musical legacy not have created a plan for it after he died? How could a man with a philanthropic heart not have cemented his charitable legacy with testamentary gifts?
So, what does this mean for you?
Just like Prince, if you do not plan for your death, the State has a plan for you and it probably is not what you want. Your family 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. We can help. If you’re ready to Give Your Family What They Deserve and leave a legacy of love, schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session™ today.