In this edition of “If you don’t choose, the state chooses for you” we’re going to examine the aftermath of Prince’s death.
As many of you have likely heard by now, this famous pop icon died without a will or a trust. He has no living parents, no spouse, and no children. His sister commenced probate proceedings in Minnesota with the Carver County District Court, listing three half-brothers and two half-sisters as his other heirs. The kicker: Minnesota treats half-siblings the same as full-blooded siblings, potentially lengthening this already messy situation.
According to tax records, in 2005, Prince earned an estimated $49.7 million. His Paisley Park property is assessed at over $7 million, and since his death he has sold 650,000 albums and 2.8 million tracks in the United States alone. In addition, Prince has an entire “vault” of music filled with unreleased recordings. This “vault” is now property of the estate. You can imagine how difficult it will be for the Court to determine the estate’s net value and how to “fairly” divide such.
The music, the properties, the royalties...it all amounts to a royal nightmare. Somebody who went through great lengths to protect his music rights with the law over-looked a fundamental element, his own estate!
The takeaway? Plan your estate now! Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Make your decisions when you’re healthy enough to do so and have the final say over where your property goes, not the probate court.
Until next time,