The Latest on Prince's Estate, and Why You Should Have a Will and Estate Plan in New York and Connecticut

The world is still mourning the loss of an incredible and beloved musician and performer who, like many before him, left us well before his time. With the death of a celebrity questions surrounding their estate and beneficiaries inevitably follow.

Many are asking those questions as Prince’s estate is reportedly worth close to $300 million dollars [1] with reports as high $800 million and, in the wake of his death, his album sales are soaring. (Prince is currently topping the charts with the #1 and #2, best selling albums). Unlike many other artists, Prince had incredible control over his music, writings and intellectual property, and apparently possessed a treasure trove of unreleased music, which may make his estate even more valuable.

Who are Prince’s Heirs?

This is important because if one dies without a will, the law of “intestacy” would apply according to state law to determine where the money goes when the person that dies has no will. Essentially, the law makes certain assumptions as to who most people would want their estate to go to without a will and forces the distribution of the estate’s assets accordingly. In many cases, this leads to arbitrary and often bizarre results. The solution is, if at all possible, call your lawyer and have a will or trust that legally directs where you want your assets to subsequent to your death.

Prince Did Not Have a Will

The scenario above seems to be playing out with Prince’s estate. Up until April 27, 2016, it was still unclear whether or not Prince had ever written a last will and testament. However, a Minnesota judge recently confirmed that Prince did not have a will, and appointed his bank as trustee to settle his estate and wind up his affairs.

Prince was not survived by a spouse, parents, or any children. Prince did have a sister, Tyka Nelson, and five half-siblings.

Under Minnesota law, where one dies with no surviving spouse and no surviving children, the balance of the state would pass equally to the decedent’s heirs. (For more on Connecticut intestacy law , please reference the article we have written on the topic linked here).

Although Prince had been married twice in the past, ex-wives do not take under Minnesota law. Thus, it appears that Prince’s sister Tyka and his half-siblings will likely all share equally in the distribution of his estate.

Reasons You Should Have a Will and Estate Plan

There are many reasons why you should always be prepared and have a will and estate plan in place. Some of those reasons include the following:

  • You can count on someone you trust to settle your estate.
  • You can minimize estate taxes by creating an appropriate estate plan (Prince’s estate will likely be subject to massive estate taxes).
  • You can plan your estate to provide for the future parenting needs of your children by appointing persons as guardians.
  • You can hopefully prevent disputes among family members
  • You can avoid wasting estate resources by avoiding unnecessary legal costs

Not having a will can lead to a long drawn-out and messy legal battle, especially when millions of dollars are at stake, like in the case with Prince. The only way to ensure your family is taken care of, God forbid, is to make sure you have an estate plan in place.

Contact the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay if You Need a Probate Lawyer or Help Setting Up an Estate Plan in New York or Connecticut.

At the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay, our skilled and experienced attorneys routinely assist clients in probate matters, which range from regular estate administration to very complex probate litigation. We regularly litigate in the Probate and Superior Courts in Connecticut as their jurisdiction frequently overlaps and the Supreme Court in New York as well. We help clients plan their estates, drafting wills and trusts while helping with tax and Medicaid planning to protect the wealth hard working people have earned over the course of their lives and to help prevent the disaster that we are discussing here.

With offices located in Milford, New York City, South Norwalk, and León Spain, we truly are a local firm with a global reach.

Our New York City office proudly services all 5 boroughs, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

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If you need help setting up an estate plan, please call us at (203) 380-1743. We are available to talk anytime and here to help.