The iconic musician, Prince, died at his home in April 2016 without having made a Will. The singer was twice divorced and had no children or surviving parents. It took 12 months to determine his legal heirs. These being his sister and five half-siblings, as declared by a District Judge in Minnesota.
His assets included properties and the rights to his music. Court filings estimate the estate to be worth approximately $200m (£153m), however half of that value is expected to be absorbed by taxes.
Following his death, more than 45 people filed claims to the estate. In July 2016, a judge rejected claims by 29 people who argued that they were related to the musician and ordered genetic tests to be carried out on others. Similar tests had already been carried out to rule out the claim of a man in jail in Colorado who said he was Prince’s son.
It was then ruled that Prince’s siblings would inherit his estate, however, the judge also stated that the people who were denied the status of heirs must have time to appeal against the ruling. This meant Prince’s sister and half-siblings had another year to wait in order to receive their share of the millions.
Even though not all estates will reach into the high millions as in Prince’s case, it is still hugely important that people understand the benefits of being prepared, regardless of age or welfare. It is also important to think about how you want your estate to be distributed should the worse happen as it could be the difference between it being shared amongst your loved ones in line with your wishes, or a potentially divisive and unpleasant family dispute.
It is so important to make a Will or if you already have a Will to check that it is “up to date”. Casey & Associates offers a “free” home visit Will checking service for home owning couples who live within the areas we cover.
If you would like to meet with one of our Consultants to discuss any of the issues raised in this article or any other Estate Planning topic please telephone 01732 868190 or click here.