In 2016 headlines and social media feeds have been full of the news of the death of treasured talents like Alan Rickman, Paul Daniels, Terry Wogan and Victoria Wood. The latest tragic loss is legendary singer and performer Prince. The death of the 57 year old on 21st April seems to hit home hard the idea that no one….not even the talented, adored, rich and famous can avoid their own mortality.
Certainly Prince’s case more than most shows us how forgotten family members flock and battles brew after they hear of the death of their rich and successful relative. Prince has left assets of around £150 million! Add that to the £340 million of his music rights, no children, and claims that he has no legal Will and you can see why his six remaining siblings are preparing for War.
At the moment the stars brothers and sisters are at a stalemate as they are required to wait several months for in depth searches to prove that Prince did in fact die without a legal Will in place. Prince’s sister Tyka is adamant that he never made a Will. Other high profile cases such as Michael Jackson whose Will surfaced after his death in 2009 though his family insisted he never made one, show that family members aren’t always in the know about each others’ legal affairs.
If following investigation there really is no Will, its left up to Minnesota Probate Court to decide who gets what. There is already speculation that in this case Minnesota law will share his estate equally between his closest living relatives with each of his siblings due to inherit one sixth. Despite this being an incredibly generous sum, Prince’s nearest and dearest are already testing their opponents with rousing battle cries. His aforementioned sister Tyka is reported to have told others that as his only full blood relative (his other siblings are half brothers and sisters) that she deserves a bigger share than anyone else. Legal experts watching from the sidelines sense the upcoming clash and predict that it could take years before his estate is resolved.
Just to fan the flames even more if there is no legal Will, Prince’s estate will also have to pay a potentially massive tax bill. Estimates predict that his heir’s could be hit with a bill for about 82 million pounds in state and federal estate taxes.
Watching all of this drama unfold it is easy to forget the man behind the millions and what his wishes were. During his lifetime Prince supported a number of charitable organisations who he may have wanted to leave a gift to. He also was incredibly protective of his music and himself as a brand. Without any legal restrictions in place you can imagine how this pride and dedication to creative excellence may soon get diluted by greedy relatives and music execs who just want to make a quick buck.
This truly is a sad and cautionary tale for anyone who doesn’t have an up to date Will in place. If you asked the majority of people what was most important to them in life they are likely to say, having a peaceful, happy family and spending their life putting time into something that they care about. Having a Will in place protects both of these in the event that you pass away. Rather than being remembered for the feud that ensues your death instead a Will makes sure that people remember who you were and what you cared about most.
Find out more about leaving a gift in your Will HERE