Posted by Samantha O'Sullivan, Partner
Making a Will fit for a Prince
The untimely death of Prince in April left shockwaves throughout the music world. Unfortunately, news that he may have died without making a Will (i.e intestate) means that the administration of his estate may become even more of a story as time passes. Currently his estate has been placed under the administration of the Bremer corporate trust company while relatives and lawyers search for a Will.
If this is not found, his not having a Will leaves his estate open to claims from relatives but also means that whoever ultimately inherits his estate will also inherit the right to deal with his music as they see fit. This would be a terrible irony, especially in light of his well known passion for retaining control of his music and image.
It is particularly sad that this could have been avoided had some simple estate planning steps been taken and a Will drawn up, family notified of its existence and stored safely. Such steps could have made sure that Prince’s wishes were carried out, not to mention identifying any estate planning that could have been undertaken to reduce the amount of tax that may well be payable, unnecessarily, now.
It is not uncommon for people to be put off from making a Will as it’s often thought of as a morbid activity. People are often inclined to ‘rely’ on the intestacy rules since they believe their estate will pass to their surviving spouse or children. But it is not that simple. In the case of Prince’s estate, if he wished for his surviving siblings to receive his estate, the fact that he only has one surviving full blood sibling means there is no clarity over how his estate might now be distributed between them all.
You can find out more about how an estate would be distributed if a person dies intestate here.
In short, a clear Will and letter of wishes would have avoided any uncertainty over the distribution of Prince’s estate. Where proper advice is sought and all the family circumstances are known then an appropriate Will – whether drawn up along simple lines or putting more complex arrangements in place – provides peace of mind that your wishes are reflected and will be carried out on your death.
For more information about making a Will or estate planning contact our Private Client team on
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