It seems as though Prince is now almost as famous for not having a will as he is for hit records. He left behind a multi-million-dollar estate, but who’s supposed to get it? The courts in Minnesota will answer that question because Prince didn’t have a will.
You’d have thought that Prince would’ve had some smart advisors to encourage him to create an estate plan. By all reports, Prince was a very astute business man who should have known better. Maybe he thought he would live forever. We may never discover the reasons why he elected not to draft a will.
Some folks believe they’re kind of jinxed by creating a will—maybe something bad is going to happen to them. OK, that’s a theory—but not an especially great one. If you don’t create a will, in addition to having no say in who receives your property, you’re potentially making a big mess for your heirs. When a person dies without a will or “intestate,” his or her property and assets are distributed by a probate judge in accordance with state law.
If you are married, the estate will all go to your spouse. If you have a spouse and children, it will be divided among your closest relatives. That may work for you, but others may have other individuals and charities they want to remember.
Even if you’re not wealthy, you may still own some assets you want to designate to certain people—and you need a way for those specific wishes to be carried out.
There’s a cost to creating a will or a trust, but that will be very small compared to how much your estate would have to pay if it went to probate court. As the Prince situation shows, not having a will can bring turbulence and turmoil instead of a peace.
Reference: KHON (June 9, 2016) “What happens when you don’t prepare a will, and how much will it cost?”