Heir to the Throne: Prince’s Estate in Limbo

On April 21, the world lost yet another high-profile celebrity when 57-year-old iconic musician Prince Rogers Nelson died unexpectedly at his famous Paisley Park complex in suburban Minneapolis.

Perhaps even more shocking than his sudden death is the apparent lack of a will. Tyka Nelson, Prince’s full sister, filed documents last Tuesday, April 26, in probate court, petitioning for the appointment of a special administrator over Prince’s estate. Nelson claimed no known existence of a will and listed herself and five living half-siblings as possible heirs and interested parties to the estate. Prince was unmarried at the time of death, with no living parents or known children.

It is unknown exactly how much Prince’s estate is worth. Original estimates claimed he may have amassed a fortune worth approximately $300 million. And Prince’s post-mortem income could rival that of other top-earning deceased celebrities like Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson, whose estate, according to Forbes, has earned more than $1 billion since his death in 2009.

While an official will has yet to surface, there could still be one somewhere. According to Rolling Stone magazine, “under Minnesota law, a person can file a will with probate court in secret. If Prince did, the will – along with any trust he created or heirs he named – would be made public once a death certificate is filed.”

Without a will or other estate planning structure, Prince’s estate could easily fall victim to probate and court proceedings, causing whatever legacy he had hoped to leave to lose value from costs, fees and taxes.

Estate planning is necessary – and not just for celebrities. Creating a will is just one step in setting up an effective estate plan. Telling someone you have a will can help expedite transfer processes should you die unexpectedly. Setting up trust funds to gift your estate to family, friends or charities after your death can protect your assets from heftier tax burdens during the transfer. Personally designating someone to oversee your accounts and to manage your estate can help ensure the people you choose receive their benefits, instead of letting your next of kin, or even the state, decide for you.

Contact our office today to discuss what options are available to help you secure, and make the most of, your legacy. We can help you properly plan with an estate planning attorney to avoid costly mistakes even a Prince can make. Call Jordan Dechtman, Denver financial planner at 303-741-9772, email him at Jordan@JordanDechtman.com or visit our website www.JordanDechtman.com to schedule an appointment.