While fans continue to mourn legendary entertainer Prince, who died unexpectedly at age 57, estate attorneys were surprised to discover that Prince did not have a will or other estate planning documents in place at the time of his death. This is particularly shocking given that the estimated value of Prince's estate is in the $150 - $300 million range. The fact that Prince did not have an estate plan in place will likely mean more of his estate will go to the government in the form of estate taxes, but also means that state law (and not Prince) will decide who will receive his assets.
At the initial hearing to open Prince's estate, the Probate Court Judge appointed a special administrator to secure Prince's assets and otherwise manage his estate. Legal analysts predict a battle between Prince's one full-blood sister and five half-blood siblings as to who will receive Prince's assets and in what amounts.
When a person dies without a will their assets pass according to their home state's intestacy statute. State law varies significantly as to the specifics, but in all cases the provisions are a binding assumption by the state as to how the decedent's assets should be distributed. A will and other estate planning documents allow a person to make their own decisions as to how their assets should pass upon death, can help manage estate taxes (when applicable), and can also help ensure the efficient and orderly management of the decedent's estate.
It is widely recommended that all adults have a will, a medical directive, and medical and financial powers of attorney in place to ensure their wishes are followed, and to ensure they are properly cared for in the event of a medical emergency, even for people who don't have Prince's sizable net worth.
An experienced estate attorney can assist with the preparation of these documents. Our firm can provide affordable and efficient representation in this regard, including for individuals who might not think they need an estate plan in place.