When legendary musician and Minnesota resident Prince passed away in May of 2016, his estate was estimated at more than 200 million dollars. Surely, his family was ready to collect on his net worth, right? Unfortunately, Prince did not have even a basic will set up, thus creating a media and legal frenzy that dragged out for more than a year in the courts, and is still on-going until this day. Had Prince sat down with a lawyer and done some estate planning, his family could’ve avoided the headache that came with the fierce legal battle, and been able to capitalize and stabilize his assets after his passing.
Let’s Go Crazy: The Legal Battle
And what a legal battle it was. With no basic will in place, more than 45 people filed claims to be the rightful heir of the Prince estate, which included his Paisley Park residence, a number of other Minnesota residences and acreage, and the masters to his music library, valued at more than 31 million alone. Eventually, a Minnesota judge awarded the rights to the estate to Prince’s sister and his 5 half-siblings. However, the heirs were not able to move forward until a formal court order was filed, and all appeals and claims from the other so called heirs were heard. Eventually a bank was hired as the administrator of the will, and more legal issues sprung from that. Federal Estate and State taxes were also to take more than 100 million of Prince’s assets. Yikes, being locked up in a legal battle with depreciating assets with no end in sight is enough to make doves cry.
Why Having a Will is So Important
Estate Planning is essential to ensuring a peaceful and strategic plan to deliver the assets and wealth you have worked so hard for directly to the people you want it to go to, without a prolonged and stressful legal battle. A basic will can do a lot of things: It gives your instructions and wishes as to how your assets and property are to be distributed after you die It is a statement that must be written, signed and witnessed in compliance with your state’s laws. It names your beneficiaries, the people you want to benefit from your assets, as well as details of your possessions. It allows you to choose an executor. A basic will allows you to choose a person to manage the distribution of your assets. Some can also help you avoid probate and lessen the taxes on your estate liability. If Prince had worked with an estate planning attorney, he could’ve saved his benefactors a lot of time, money, and peace of mind.
Are you willing to get started on a Will?
While no individual wants to think about death or disability, establishing an estate plan is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your assets. Proper estate planning from an estate planning attorney or legal advisor not only puts you in charge of your finances, it can also spare your loved ones of the expense, deferment, and vexation related with managing your affairs and assets when you pass away or become disabled. Why wait? Life is unpredictable, but that doesn’t eliminate the need to plan for the future. Are you willing to get started on a will? Betsy Larson Law is here to help with a number of estate planning services, at a fair and flat rate. Contact me here.