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What we can learn from Prince’s lack of estate planning

In a post back in January, our blog discussed how the late David Bowie was something of an anomaly in the music business given the degree of care he demonstrated building — and most likely protecting — his $200 million-plus fortune. Specifically, we discussed how experts theorized that it was highly likely that the shrewd Bowie utilized some form or irrevocable or revocable trusts to pass on his assets in a bid to maximize tax savings and keep his affairs private.

Fast forward to the present and the world is one again mourning the loss of a musician whose work was not only transcendent, but always ahead of its time.

A little over a week ago, prolific musician and performer Prince passed away in Paisley Park Studios, his massive estate in his native Minnesota.

While authorities have yet to determine Prince’s exact cause of death, legal proceedings concerning the disposition of his estate have already begun and they reveal that, unlike Bowie, the Purple Rain balladeer did not have any sort of plan in place.

Specifically, court filings by Prince’s sister indicate that he did not have a will outlining how he wanted his estimated $300 million estate — likely consisting of his royalties, real estate and unpublished catalogue — to be divided and distributed upon his passing. This, of course, means that the estate will now have to go through what will likely be a lengthy, costly and very public probate process.

According to experts, this reality coupled with the fact that Prince has five half-siblings, all of whom are treated as full siblings under Minnesota law, and significant property holdings could create something of a legal nightmare for the bank appointed to serve as special administrator of his estate.   

What all of this serves to underscore is how important it is for people from all walks of like to take the time to execute a simple will or other estate planning tool, as it can save time and money, and ensure that your assets are divided in accordance with your wishes



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