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Estate planning lessons to learn from Prince

Fans and the musical community in Texas and across the country are still reeling from the news of the tragic and unexpected death of the singer Prince. In the meantime, his potential heirs are scrambling to determine how his estate should be valued and divided. Significantly complicating matters is the fact that it appears that there are no estate planning documents in place detailing Prince's wishes.

In an initial hearing regarding his estate, a judge ruled that there does not appear to be estate plans, including a will, in place, leaving the administration of his estimated $500 million estate in turmoil. While questions regarding his estate are addressed, a special administrator has been appointed. It could be a significant period of time before his estate is settled.

While the exact value of the estate is determined, additional claimants could come forward. Additionally, tax authorities may also disagree with certain decisions made and how the estate should be taxed. Some professionals with estate planning experience say that having a will detailing to whom the assets should be distributed and trusts detailing how that distribution should occur could have reduced some of the turmoil regarding his estate following his death.

While it is possible for people to create their own will, having an experienced professional help with the process can help ensure that nothing is overlooked and that the will is less likely to succumb to a challenge. Professional assistance is also likely warranted in an estate the size of Prince's. Because the loss of a loved one is a difficult experience, having estate planning documents in place can often ease one of the burdens surviving loved ones in Texas face.

Source: wpr.org, "Don't Be Like Prince, Have An Estate Plan, Expert Says", Bill Martens, May 3, 2016

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