Prince passed away without a will despite being worth millions of dollars and much can be learned from this as discussed by Forbes in "5 Things Prince's Family, And You, Should Know About Estate Planning."
The important lessons to be learned include:
- Intestate – People who pass away without having a will are called "intestate," which means the court has to appoint someone to oversee the estate and then all assets will be divided according to a statutory scheme.
- Public – Not having an estate plan means the estate will be open to the public and details about the deceased's assets will also be public.
- Costs – Normally, not having a will leads to extra costs and fees as experts need to be hired to shepherd the estate through the probate process.
- No Choice – If a person has an estate plan, he or she can determine how the assets of the estate are divided and distributed to loved ones. However, in the absence of a will the court has no choice but to divide the assets according to what the statute books mandate.
- Plan Now – Prince most likely did not expect to pass away when he did. Perhaps he thought he had plenty of time to get an estate plan at a later date. However, as his death illustrates, you never know when you will pass away. For that reason it is important to plan for your estate now even if you do not think you need to.
Millions of dollars or not, a visit to an estate planning attorney can be beneficial.
Reference: Forbes (May 18, 2016) "5 Things Prince's Family, And You, Should Know About Estate Planning."