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When music superstar Prince died unexpectedly at the age of 57 three years ago, he did so without having prepared a Will or Trust. Unfortunately, his siblings who stand to inherit an estate potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars still haven’t received their shares. In fact, according to a recent USA Today article, the estate has not even been valued yet, nor have state and federal estate tax bills been paid.
So, what has been going on over the past three years? Estate administrators have reportedly spent $45 million so far shuttling the estate through probate court, $10 million of which has gone to pay teams of attorneys working on trying to settle the estate and litigate the inevitable disputes. Prince’s assets were complex, both in terms of size and makeup. In addition to his extensive music collection, Prince’s estate also includes multiple pieces of real estate, including a luxury Caribbean vacation property on Turks and Caicos.
Complicating matters, the singer/songwriter’s heirs have also fought amongst themselves. Unfortunately, this is all-too common after someone dies – whether they were famous or not. While having a Will or Trust would not necessarily have made the process faster or completely eliminated arguments between heirs, it could have potentially made administering and distributing the estate smoother. In addition, planning ahead could have resulted in Prince’s estate being able to leverage tax saving strategies while paying significantly lower estate administration bills.
When you plan ahead by creating a Trust or Will and are deliberate about titling property and ensuring beneficiary designations are up-to-date and reflect your wishes, you can have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved ones will not need to engage in a lot of guesswork about what you would have wanted. You can also avoid leaving a significant amount of your estate to unwanted heirs, including federal and state tax authorities and expenses associated with probate court.
Is your estate plan current and complete? For help ensuring your estate is administered the way you would want, contact The Estate Planning & Legacy Law Center today.