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Prince estate battle highlights importance of wills

Millions of Americans and fans throughout the world mourned the news of the passing of the legendary musician Prince. While his talents and music speak for themselves, unfortunately nothing spoke for his high asset net worth and vast estate. You see, Prince died without a will.

Prince died unexpectedly last April from an accidental overdose of painkillers in the elevator of his Paisley Park estate outside Minneapolis. Since then, his worth, valued at over $200 million dollars, has remained in probate court as dozens of people tried to claim themselves as heirs to his estate, including secret children, secret siblings and secret wives.

A Minnesota probate court last week made a ruling stating that Prince's six surviving siblings were the rightful heirs. Prince has one sister and five half-siblings. Following the ruling, many of the rejected potential heirs have filed appeals. The judge acknowledged that if the appeals go through appellate courts, he will honor the decisions and consider their cases as well.

While the death of a legend is tragic enough, sadly, it appears that the turmoil over his estate has made things even more costly and complicated. Since he did not have a will, it appears that state and federal estate taxes will likely take half of his estate value. Furthermore, we will never truly know how he would have wanted his estate distributed. This goes to show us, once again, that it is never too early to start considering your estate planning to avoid headaches and substantial losses in value to those who would otherwise receive the money.

Source: USA TODAY, "Prince's six siblings declared official heirs to his still-uncounted estate," by Amy Forliti, May 19, 2017

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