Following his death in 2016, the late singer Prince left behind an estimated $300 million fortune which included several properties, stocks & shares, vehicles, chattels and a plethora of unreleased music. But what happened to Prince’s estate after he died?

It was soon established that he had failed to prepare a Will causing a legal battle that is still unresolved five years on.

During his lifetime, Prince was married and divorced twice and is not known to have any surviving children. His only relatives are his sister and five half-siblings. Within two weeks of his death, approximately 700 people all claiming to have some relation to the late singer came forward and attempted to put in a claim against his estate.

The 50 million dollar question

As expected, the majority of these claims were spurious and no evidence could be provided to support them; however, the estate began to incur costs for the time spent dealing with each of these claims. It is now estimated that the legal costs incurred as a result of this are over $50 million and are likely to increase further.

Prince owned many unique assets, several of which are copyrights or other intellectual property, and it is likely he knew who he wanted to participate in managing the assets after his death, but that information isn’t available.

This demonstrates the importance of having a professionally drafted Will clearly setting out who the Executor and Beneficiaries of the estate are.

Failure to do so can result in increased costs, conflict between family members and can result in someone benefitting from your estate who you would not have chosen.

The choice of Executor determines much of what happens and even in much less valuable and complicated estates, that decision is critical.

The important role of an Executor

The role of Executor is to deal with your assets, pay any debts owed by you, and ensure that everything that is left passes to the correct people in accordance with your wishes. It is therefore important to appoint an executor that you can rely on to handle your affairs responsibly. Often, what the deceased would have wanted differs greatly from what happens because either the Will is inadequate or worse, no Will exists.

How ZEDRA Estate Planning can help

What happened to Prince’s estate is a good example of why proper estate planning is so important. It will save your loved ones unnecessary distress and reflect your wishes entirely. Our team provide a friendly, first class personal service to those wanting to appoint a professional Executor. If you haven’t yet prepared your Will or would like to review it, please contact us to discuss your situation and find out how we can help.

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