Neglected Estate Planning By Prince Will Cost Loved Ones

World famous music star Prince reportedly died without leaving a will, trust, or any other estate planning documents for his friends and family. The consequence? His loved ones and business contacts will likely be fighting in court for years to settle an estate estimated to be worth between $150 million to $300 million, according to the Chicago Tribune.

To complicate matters even further, Prince was not married and had no children. This means there is not a clear beneficiary who will inherit the bulk of his estate. Instead, Prince left behind six siblings.

Here is an ABC News report on the estate controversy:

When someone dies without a will, it means they died “intestate.” The result is that your assets will be divided according to statutory law. For Prince’s estate, it is likely that each of his siblings will receive an equal share of the overall estate. This division applies even if Prince was not close or friendly with each of his siblings.

The irony is staggering. Prince spent years of his life fighting for control over the rights to his music. In fact, one of the key reasons he changed his name from Prince to an unpronounceable symbol was in an effort to gain more control over his music. It is clear Prince valued control over his persona and his incredible works of music. But in death, he now has no control. Without a clear estate plan, he ceded control of his property to the courts.

The End is Not Near for Prince’s Estate

In addition to subjecting his estate to the laws of intestacy, there is a good chance Prince’s assets will be subjected to lengthy and contentious litigation. Why? Because Prince had a complex estate with various business initiatives, property, likely multiple bank accounts, and so forth.  Most estate planning attorneys do not expect Prince’s estate to be settled for quite some time, according to the Star Tribune. In addition to all the questions surrounding the beneficiaries of his estate, it is likely there will be a large tax bill involved. Without some simple tax planning in place, a large chunk of his estate will go to the government instead of being planned for his loved ones or chosen charitable organizations. This means Prince’s family and friends will likely have to battle in court for years to get a final resolution to all of Prince’s assets.

Lesson – Sit Down with an Estate Planning Attorney and Put Together an Estate Plan

Prince’s estate provides a vital lesson for everyone, whether rich or poor – when you die without a will, you are giving up power and control and likely subjecting your loved ones to years of stress and uncertainty. Under the laws of intestacy, the statutory division of assets controls. Even if you despised a sibling or ex-spouse, it does not matter. The law controls rather than you controlling who gets your valued assets. Take the time to make an estate plan.

If you need help, contact an experienced estate planning attorney and schedule a time to meet with them to discuss the details of your plan.