May 6, 2016

Prince: Ugh. No estate planning likely means years of litigation.

Last month I wrote about the late musical artist Prince, questioning whether or not he had completed prudent estate planning before his death.  Several clients have told me about the timeliness of that post, given the answer to my question seems to be, unfortunately:
No.

Media outlets across the United States have reported that Prince routinely dismissed his financial, music, and legal advisors.  Allegedly Prince preferred handling personal and music-related issues on his own.  Apparently getting Prince's signature on documents was tantamount to pulling teeth.

Also, no will (or trust) for Prince's estate has been found.  Which likely means years of litigation over disposition of Prince's assets and control of his music empire.  It will be interesting, albeit sadly interesting, to see who comes out of the woodwork to get a chunk of Prince's purported $300 million plus estate.

Without a will or trust, what happens now?

If Prince died intestate (without a will or trust, as it now appears), the intestate laws of his residence state of Minnesota will determine what happens to Prince's assets.  Sadly, rather than Prince controlling what happens to his estate, Minnesota' court system will decide, perhaps with decisions adverse to Prince's wishes.

How regrettable.  All of this ... everything ... was easily avoidable to prudent estate planning.  Of which Prince apparently (as of now, anyway), did none.

Don't get caught in the same unfortunate morass.
Take time ... make time ... for estate planning to ensure your wishes are followed.

 Estate Planning considerations and documents should not be limited to those related to death, such as life insurance, revocable living trusts, and wills.  (And, for high net worth individuals subject to estate tax, the state in which you reside.)  Estate Planning should also include a coordinated Life Planning component to address what happens if you become incapacitated or otherwise are unable to handle your affairs.  Documents to consider for the Life Planning component include but are not limited to an Advanced Health Care Directive (also known as a Living Will) and various Power of Attorney documents.

Please contact me if you have questions about Estate Planning and Estate Tax Preparation and Representation matters.

For information about my nationwide Consulting, Expert Witness, and Tax Services visit Fouts Financial Group.

Mary Rae Fouts

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