As most people by now know, the artist Prince died without a Will. The family is now set up for tens of thousands in legal costs and years of delay before the money gets distributed.
When a person dies without a Will, regardless of the size of his estate, numerous problems come up. These include:
Executor. The person who will be named in charge of your estate may not be the person that you would have liked. Often, when the family cannot agree amongst themselves, the judge will appoint an independent 3rd party to manage the assets.
Costs. As most of you know, anything that has to do with court can be expensive. The legal fees for probate, the court filing fees, the costs of delay, the litigation fees – these can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars on a large estate, and tens of thousands for a smaller one. All of these costs are unnecessary and could be avoided by proper planning.
Distribution. If you actually wanted your assets to be distributed in a certain manner, you should write it down properly. Right now there are a couple of people already claiming to be Prince’s un-marital children. More may come out later. If they are successful in proving their paternity, then Prince’s siblings will not get a penny! This result could have been avoided by drafting a proper will.
Taxes. There may be estate taxes, income taxes and inheritance taxes. Estate planning attorneys can help you and your loved ones reduce or eliminate them.
Disclaimer: This article only offers general information. Each situation is unique. It is always helpful to talk to a specialized attorney, to figure out your various options and ramifications of actions. As every case has subtle differences, please do not use this article for legal advice. Only a signed engagement letter will create an attorney-client relationship.