PRINCE APPARENTLY DID NOT HAVE A WILL
The world learned recently that Prince joined the long list of celebrities who passed away intestate or without a will. Some of the names on the list are surprising, others not so. The Honorable Salvatore Phillip “Sonny” Bono, Michael Jackson, Howard Hughes, Abraham Lincoln, Pablo Picasso, Martin Luther King are all grouped together with such musical greats as Jimmy Hendrix, Curt Kobain and Amy Winehouse. Pablo Picasso’s estate was valued at approximately $30 million upon his passing in 1973 and is now valued at several billion dollars and took several years to sort out.
If a will does not surface, which seems likely, the local probate Court will follow Minnesota’s intestacy laws to divvy up at his estate which is initially estimated at at least $100 million and very well likely be worth several hundreds of millions of dollars. While Prince was no doubt a creative genius on par with others who were considered truly great, his creativity did not go into the realm of financial planning, as a will is the most basic of all legal documents. No doubt he could have afforded the most well paid team of lawyers to easily and without much interference value his estate and develop a legal strategy to help prevent public drama which could cost millions in legal fees as well as untold emotional costs to his family members and very well may cause an irreparable rift in family relations. Prince and the other above celebrities, however, are in the majority, as the American Bar Association estimates that approximately 55% of Americans pass away without a will. Forbes estimates that the number may be as high as approximately two out of three Americans.