Last week, pop music star Prince died at his home in Minneapolis. Grief and nostalgia prompted fans to buy 2.3 million of his songs in just three days.
Prince owned the famous Paisley Park complex in suburban Minneapolis, as well as dozens of properties nearby. Public records show these properties to be worth $27 million in 2016. He made hundreds of millions of dollars for record companies, concert venues, and others during his career. According to Warner Music Group, Prince sold over 100 million albums in his lifetime. His tours raked in $225 million in ticket sales.
However, Prince encountered tax difficulties several times over the years, including back taxes and overdue property taxes. He also lost a law suit in 2013 and was ordered to pay $4.4 million. So it is unknown at this time how much his entire estate is worth. Not to mention, the future amount of money licensing his personal brand will bring in is inestimable.
Recent news reports reveal that Prince has no known Will or Trust. Often times, wealthy people will create a Trust to avoid the publicity of probate Court. If Prince created a Will or Trust, then the heirs to his estate and fortune would be known. However, no Will or Trust has turned up yet. Minnesota law dictates that a person may file a Will with the probate Court in secret, but once a death certificate is filed, the Will would become public. No such Will has been publicized.
So what happens to his estate? Dying without a Will or Trust means that your estate is distributed according to the laws of intestacy. (See our blog post What Happens if You Die Without a Will in Indiana?) Each state has its own laws of intestacy. Intestate laws outline how your estate is distributed – to your closest surviving relatives.
Prince was not married and has no known living children. He has only one surviving full sibling and five half-siblings. For Prince, the Minnesota intestacy laws outline that Prince’s estate will go to his sister and possibly half siblings. Also, without a Will, the Court must choose someone to appoint as Administrator. His sister has requested the Minneapolis Court to appoint a special administrator for Prince’s estate.
What will happen with Prince’s estate remains to be seen. Unfortunately, without a Will or Trust, Prince’s wishes may not be fulfilled. None of his estate will go to his friends or distant relatives. If you want your legacy left to the people important to you, then you need to have a Will or Trust. See the following related articles: What is a Trust and What is Included?, Advantages and Dangers of Having a Trust, The Basics of Estate Administration, and What is a Will and Do You Need One?