Did Prince Have a Will?

A Prince insider is reporting that the great musician did not have a will at the time of his recent, sudden passing:

EXCLUSIVE So far, no one has shown up with a last will and testament for Prince.16391373104_ca1153905e

I am told that it’s likely there is no will despite Prince’s great fortune and holdings. “He thought he’d live until he was one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine years old,” Prince’s long time former attorney and close friend Londell McMillan told me today. McMillan never had a will with Prince. It’s unlikely any other lawyer drew one up either. “He didn’t think he would die. He couldn’t face it,” observed McMillan. “Some people are like that.”

I am sure many people can relate to this unfortunate predicament. Many of us have trouble facing our own mortality. Consequently, things can get messy when our estate is settled, for the state government will have a major role in distributing our assets.

If you die without a will, it means you have died “intestate.” When this happens, the intestacy laws of the state where you reside will determine how your property is distributed upon your death. This includes any bank accounts, securities, real estate, and other assets you own at the time of death. Real estate owned in a different state than where you resided will be handled under the intestacy laws of the state where the property is located.

The laws of intestate succession vary greatly depending on whether you were single or married, or had children. In most cases, your property is distributed in split shares to your “heirs”, which could include your surviving spouse, siblings, aunts and uncles, nieces, nephews, and distant relatives. Generally, when no relatives can be found, the entire estate goes to the state.

We’ll have to see just how Prince’s assets can be now protected.

This troublesome situation does point to a virtue of life insurance. Typically, proceeds do not pass through probate:

The proceeds from life insurance policies do not pass through probate as long as named beneficiaries are available to take the payout. When you buy a life insurance policy, you name beneficiaries who will receive the payout when you die. After your death, your named beneficiaries deal directly with the insurance company to receive the money. As a result, most life insurance policy payouts do not require involvement from probate, even if probate is required for other property in the deceased person’s estate.

Something to keep in mind when you continue with your estate plan and take out a policy.

Please feel free to comment, or to contact me directly with a specific question.
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