3 Years After the World Lost Prince, His Heirs Still Have Yet to Receive a Penny: Report

Illustration for article titled 3 Years After the World Lost Prince, His Heirs Still Have Yet to Receive a Penny: Report
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It has now been almost three years since the world lost the musical genius, legend and icon known as Prince, but his estimated $200 million estate remains mired in all kinds of drama, with his heirs yet to see one dime.

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It’s a sad state of affairs (pun intended) caused in great part, according to financial experts, by the fact that Prince died at his Paisley Park estate from an accidental opioid overdose without having a will.

When people die without a will, it is up to courts and estate administrators (usually law firms in this instance) to first determine an estate’s value. That can take years, especially when it involves an estate with the kind of assets (including money, homes, land, music masters, and more) that Prince appeared to own just at face value.

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Of course, while Prince’s heirs, his six brothers and sisters, may not be getting paper, at least one group is definitely getting paid: the lawyers.

As USA Today reports, according to court papers filed by the heirs in hopes of gaining more control over spending, estate administrators have “spent $45 million, including $10 million in legal fees.”

As the newspaper notes:

... platoons of lawyers have been working on it for three years, racking up bills, arguing with each other, arguing with the heirs, arguing with consultants hired to advise on various estate matters, and filing blizzards of documents and paperwork with the Carver County [, Minn., ] probate court, which has made little progress in its mission to sort all this.

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Many people, including many black people, even famous ones (Aretha Franklin was recently revealed to have had no will when she died in August), die without having put down on paper how they want whatever they own to be divvied up.

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Writing a will can certainly seem a macabre exercise that really no one wants to indulge, no matter their status in life, rich or poor, famous or not. As University of Minnesota law professor Judith Younger opined of Prince to USA Today regarding his lack of a will: “He probably didn’t like to think about that.”

But for loved ones left behind without a will, not having one can really add to the pain of their loss.

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DISCUSSION

JustPassingThrough

We always talk about wills, but I want to add that trusts are extremely important for folks who are single. When you have no children and no spouse, your heirs can be family that you actually do not want to inherit your assets. Unfortunately, wills have to go through probate; trusts, on the other hand, stand on much firmer ground (at least that appears to be the case in my state).

For example, I own a home and my mother lives with me. If I die, the only person who get this home is my mother, followed by my sister and my nephew. Notwithstanding, I have a father who I’m on good terms with, but he didn’t raise me for much of my childhood. I do not want him inheriting much of anything from my estate.

The only way to ensure my father does not inherit my assets, was to put everything I own into a living trust. I could’ve done a will, but wills can be contested in probate and my father is definitely the type to go to court for some extra change despite my wishes.

If you are single with no kids, and you know there are folks you do not want to be an heir, you need to look into setting up a trust. There is so much piece of mind once you get that officially setup. Everything in the trust is outside of probate and is clearly transferred to your heirs by the trustee that you have already named in the trust itself.