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Video: Prince's Big Estate Planning Mistake

May 16, 2016
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The recent passing of pop star Prince was tragic to his family and fans. The music world lost one of its most creative artists.

Prince made a major estate planning mistake before his untimely death. Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and Michael Jackson all made the same tragic mistake. Maybe it was fear, procrastination or they just thought he had more time.

What was Prince’s and his fellow artists’ major estate planning mistake?

No will. Otherwise known as dying intestate.

If Prince did die without a will, it will cause a number of problems. His family and estate will go through the same challenges that you and I would without a will.

Having a will can help you avoid the following: 

  1. Burial instructions. I know this sounds simple, but it’s a little more complex than at first glance. It brings up a number of interesting questions. Where do you want to be buried? Do you want to be buried or cremated? What type of service or celebration do you want?
  2. Distribution of property. There’s no way to know who gets what. To complicate matters, the estates of musicians and other artists often continue to generate money long after their deaths. Prince was no different. His sister found a large quantity of unpublished music in his home safe.
  3. Inclusion and exclusion of beneficiaries. I’ve seen many arguments over property in a home of a deceased relative. Unfortunately for Prince, he will not be able to pass on personal property or keep someone from getting a prized possession of his.
  4. The state decides who gets what. Prince lived in Minnesota, so a probate judge will now decide what property his family gets and exactly how much. So any long time friends probably will not receive things promised prior to his passing.

Famous or not, everyone should have a will. It’s simple to do and will save your family a lot of money and headaches. Take time to make decisions about property, pick an executor and name guardians for your minor children if necessary. You’re never too young or old or too famous to have a will.

If you have any questions about your individual estate planning situation, feel free to contact me at my office at 859-225-2596. I’ll be happy to talk to you.