12/05/2016

The world of music is mourning the loss of another music legend. Prince died last month leaving behind an estate worth millions of dollars, along with music and other intellectual property.

At a Minnesota Probate Court Hearing last week, the judge confirmed that the singer died without a will and placed a bank in charge of his assets. They now have the complicated task of piecing together the puzzle of Paisley Park.

What will happen to Prince’s fortune?

The icon was divorced. His child tragically died aged just one week old, and both his parents have passed away. Under the law of his home state of Minnesota, in the absence of a will, his assets pass equally between his surviving brothers and sisters. Minnesota law declares that surviving half siblings have the same inheritance rights as full siblings. His sister and five other half siblings have already filed papers in court as potential heirs. Media reports suggest that the siblings are already at odds. Prince may have penned ‘Money Don’t Matter 2 Night’, but it appears his siblings may beg to differ and are likely to battle it out over his ‘Diamonds and Pearls’ and ‘Little Red Corvette’.

Do you have a will?

Incredibly Prince died without leaving a will, which has attracted much media attention. Should we really be so surprised? Let’s look at some figures. In a recent UK survey by Solicitors for the Elderly, only 39% of people have a will in place and according to the American Bar only 45% of Americans.

“Prince was a major star and a cultural influencer, but he was a human being” Kenneth J. Abdo, an entertainment lawyer in Minneapolis, commented.

With these figures in mind, chances are that a number of you reading this blog don’t have a will in place. Let’s explore what is likely to happen to your money and belongings.

What happens if you die without a will?

In England and Wales, there are complex rules (Intestacy Rules) which dictate how your money, property or possessions should be distributed if you die without a valid will. This may not be the way that you would have wished your money and possessions to be distributed.

A will gives you control

Regardless of how much or how little money you have, a will ensures that whatever you do have will go to those who you choose. It gives you control. It allows you to make choices about things that mean a great deal to you.

Did you know that unmarried couples cannot inherit from each other unless there is a will? This could have serious financial implications for the surviving partner. If you have children, a will ensures that you get to choose your children’s legal guardian should you die before your children are of legal adult age. These are just a few reasons why it might be important for you to make a will.

The wills and estate planning team here at Beswicks Legal is experienced in all aspects of estate planning and management and can help you to ensure that your life’s work is passed on in the way that you wish.

If you would like further legal advice on making a will or any of the issues raised this this blog please contact Sarah Mellor at Beswicks Legal on 01782 404653 or email sarah.mellor@beswicks.com.