In a year of pretty unhappy events, Princes death stood out as one of the saddest of 2016. For anyone who grew up in the 80s and 90s his music served as a backing track to our lives. Yet his death highlights just how difficult it is when people die before their time without leaving a Will in place.
Like many healthy and active people in their 50s, Prince never got around to making a Will. With no children and no immediate family to think about he was far too busy keeping up with his legendary work schedule to think about tedious matters like estate planning.
His untimely death means that his estate is now being decided by US intestacy laws. And with $300 million at stake, and a raft of extended family members coming forward to stake their claim, it’s no surprise that the people who are likely to benefit the most from this sorry episode will be an army of lawyers.
When you die ‘intestate’ – with no Will – there are no clear instructions left for the probate executors to administer your property, assets and possessions as you would have liked. This means that, here in the UK at least, this entire process is decided by the Courts.
The problem comes when there is a lot to be gained and relative decide to challenge the process. Of course, here in London and the Home Counties, there’s no need to be an international rock legend for this to be worthwhile. In many cases you simply need to own your own property for certain relatives to raise their heads.
Ultimately the courts will decide who gets what based on very strict criteria. Yet even then the process takes much, much longer and becomes far more acrimonious that it would have been if a simple Will had been left behind.
In the US it looks like the lawyers are going to make a huge profit from Prince’s estate as around eight potential heirs begin to fight over his wealth in the courts. We very much doubt that this is what Prince, or indeed anyone, would want to see.
So don’t allow your family to become embroiled in bitter feuds and disputes over your money should the unexpected happen. Get a Will today and make sure you keep it updated to reflect any significant life changes that may occur.
To find out more contact the Hillman Legal Team today and book an appointment. You may not have penned Purple Rain but you’ve worked hard and built up what you have. Make sure it goes to people you love and not into a litigation solicitors bank account.
Call us on:
0800 29 88 66 1
We will help you keep all of your affairs up-to-date, allowing you to rest assures that if the worst comes, you will at least have known that you did the very best for your family and loved ones.
Image by Eric (kindly used under the Creative Commons License)