Many Michigan residents were undoubtedly devastated when they learned that the musician Prince had died. The gifted vocalist and guitar player had a recognizable style and presence that was well-known by even those who may not have been big fans of his music. Though news of his untimely death dominated many media outlets in the wake of his passing, an interesting fact about his estate emerged in the weeks following his death.
It appears that Prince did not have a will when he died. Despite his wealth and celebrity stature, he did not create a plan for how his money and assets should be distributed in the event of his passing. His failure to provide any direction about his intentions for providing his loved ones with inheritances left the very real possibility that his entire estate will be subject to review by a probate court.
Probate is a necessary legal process, but as readers of this estate planning blog know, not every estate has to endure the lengthy course of action that probate can require. When individuals proactively work out the details of their estate plans they can avoid many of the costs associated with having their money and property divided in probate.
No matter whether a person has the wealth and assets of a celebrity he can benefit from having a recorded estate plan. An estate plan does not have to be complicated; documents such as wills and trusts can suffice to provide estate administrators and loved ones with a clear picture of what the decedent intended to have happen when he passed on.
In order to effectuate their desires, many people choose to utilize the services of estate planning attorneys to create their plan documents. Attorneys who work in this field understand how best to protect the value of assets that individuals own and recognize the legal importance of structuring estates based on the needs of individual planners. Prince's estate is now apparently in the hands of a probate court. Those who wish to avoid this outcome may take control of their estates by creating estate plans.
Source: khon2.com, "Prince's legal misstep illustrates importance of will, estate planning," Ron Mizutani, May 26, 2016