Music icon Prince died on April 21, 2016. Reports indicate his estate is worth between $100-$300 million dollars, and growing. A little more than a month has passed since Prince’s death and the hot topic is that Prince had no estate plan.
No Trust, No Will, Nada. Therefore, his entire estate is going to be probated by the Minnesota probate court. And it could take years and possible millions to probate.
As mentioned several times, over in previous posts, when a person dies with no estate plan, they are considered to have died intestate. Each state has intestacy laws that allow the state’s probate court to probate and administer the estate. Intestacy laws are basically a state’s way of speculating who a person would have selected to inherit their estate.
Prince had no spouse nor children. Both of his parents are deceased. So, his heirs are his six (6) siblings. One (1) full sibling and five (5) half siblings. In Minnesota, half siblings are entitled an equal share of an estate, just like full siblings. Therefore, Prince’s estate could be split in six (6) equal parts.
Now, on the surface this does not seem like a major issue. Prince had six (6) siblings, surely he would have left them something in his will, right? Well, maybe. I have yet to see a report indicating he had intentions to disinherit any of this siblings. BUT, if he did intend to disinherit any of them, with no estate planning documents, those intentions are lost. Similarly, any intention to leave money to charities, churches, friends, etc. are also lost.
Recent articles have surfaced detailing that Prince was devout in his religion and would have wanted to leave something to his church. Others speculated there were several charities he would have wanted to share in his estate.
Moreover, Prince’s entire “musical catalog” is now under the control of the named estate administrator, including several unreleased songs. The lack of an estate plan means no one knows if those unreleased songs are supposed to stay private or be released. Furthermore, the fate of the rest of his music now rests with the estate administrator.
What is known is the Minnesota probate court is going to have a long and probably complicated road ahead trying to administer this estate.
What many fail to understand is estate planning is vital for anyone with assets. Only you know where you wish your estate to be distributed. Do you want to disinherit a child? You need to have it in writing. Do you want to leave money to a charity? You need to have it in writing. Do you want to have money set aside for a niece, nephew, grandchild, etc. in a trust? You need to have it in writing.
A lack of an estate plan means your estate is open to the public, anyone who believes they should inherit can make a claim, and it will cost your heirs time and money in court battles and attorneys fees.
Keep the “thieves out of the temple” by creating an estate plan.