It has been over two years since the untimely death of rock star Prince and none of his heirs have received a penny from his estate. Why? Prince not only died without having an estate plan in place and he had not even created a will. That makes the process of settling the estate far more complicated. Probate court takes over the handling of the estate – assigning a lawyer to handle any claims against the estate, paying off creditors and lastly distributing whatever assets remain. Public filings have not disclosed how much the estate has paid to the IRS and the state of Minnesota. The executor and its lawyers have already collected about $5.9 million in fees and expenses. How much would your loved ones receive from your estate when the state, IRS and lawyers are the first in line?
Prince constantly fought to protect his music. Now, because he failed to leave a will, his wishes are not considered. His estate lawyers are rushing to maximize the value of his recordings.
His intent is irrelevant because he never wrote it down,
said Laura Zwicker estate planner with Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP, in a January 2017 Bloomberg article,
That’s why it’s so imperative to get people to write their intent down. Even if they knew his intent and wanted to follow it, they can’t.
This applies in other ways also. The probate court decides what happens to your property. That means that even siblings you never got along with would receive their share of the estate, while a very close friend would get nothing. Prince supported numerous causes during his life, but none of them will get anything from his estate under the law. What causes are important to you? If Zion is important to you, it doesn’t matter how much you have regularly contributed in life. Without a will in place, Zion or any other causes important to you will get nothing through the probate process. Your estate will probably be less than the $200 million estimated Prince estate. You may not have over 45 people filing claims to be your wife, children, sibling or other relatives in the wake of your death as with Prince. But if your estate is important to you, the way to get your wishes followed when you pass away is to have a will in place.