Can you believe that more than a year has passed since Prince died? During that time, a major dispute came to light over his estate. Prince died without a will — the legal term for this dying “intestate” — and as such, many people came forward to claim that they were rightful heirs to Prince’s estate.
The estate is valued at around $200 million. A judge recently ruled that Prince’s six siblings would be the heirs to the estate, even though some 45 people have claimed that they are somehow related to Prince or deserve a portion of the estate. Some of the claims made by these claimants have been dismissed by DNA testing; others have been dismissed as a matter of law. Now Prince’s six siblings will get the estate once numerous other logistical hurdles are cleared — such as checking on the other claimants who say they have a legitimate right to the estate.
This story exemplifies two crucial points about estates. The first is the will. Everyone should have a will so that they can clearly and legally declare who the beneficiaries of their estate will be. Without a will, you open up the possibility of, well, this story. Numerous people could claim they have a right to the estate, and it can cause numerous legal headaches for the entire family.
The other lesson here is that disputes can quickly get out of hand if you aren’t consulting with an experienced estate attorney.
Source: ABC News, “Judge declares Prince’s 6 siblings the heirs to his estate,” AP, May 19, 2017