Pop star Prince, a native and resident of Minnesota, died without a will, leaving a question mark around several issues that may cloud the distribution of his assets. The estate may be as high as $500 million, but that number increases by virtue of continuing music sales. The court appointed a special administrator to operate the estate, which is one of the first ways in which his failure to conduct estate planning has backfired into an expensive drain on the assets.
According to one professor at the University of Minnesota, Prince left a "real mess" that will take a long time to unravel. This shows the folly of not preparing an estate plan, which is important to a person with a modest living as well as to the largest millionaires. With an estate plan, a person can control and direct the distribution of his assets after death.
When potential heirs must fight over an estate because there is no will to guide them, the estate's assets will be reduced by the special proceedings and procedures that must be taken. The chaos of Prince's situation, therefore, should be studied to get a feel for the kinds of problems that can arise. The necessity of a will comes into focus when glaring examples like this one are played out in front of a world audience.
Since Prince had no children or spouse, numerous siblings, including from other marriages and relationships of his parents, have stepped forward to make a claim for a share of the estate that has been filed in Minnesota. According to some experts, Prince also made the mistake of not having trusts as part of an estate planning process, because the use of trusts can keep the bulk of the estate private and not subject to public scrutiny. In retrospect, he would have achieved a greater sense of satisfaction in life knowing that his choices and directions were in place and that his assets were protected from excessive taxation and other avoidable expenses.
Source: wpr.org, "Don't Be Like Prince; Have An Estate Plan, Expert Says", Bill Martens, May 3, 2016