On Thursday, April 21, 2016, singer/songwriter, Prince died in his Minnesota home. He was fifty seven years old. At the time of his death Prince didn’t have either a will or trust despite owning an estate valued at more than two hundred million dollars.
Since a will was never discovered, Prince’s estate went into probate, where it currently remains.
At the time of his death, Prince was unmarried and had no children. He did, however, have six siblings. A full sister named Tyka Nelson and five half siblings.
Under Minnesota law; if a person dies without a will, the siblings and half siblings are treated the same without regard to relationship. This would mean that each of the six siblings is expected to split Prince’s estate evenly.
The problem is that Prince might not have wanted to have his estate split equally. As a matter of fact, it is likely he might not have wanted at least one of his siblings to inherit as much as the others, if he wanted them to inherit at all.
Duane Nelson had been estranged from Prince. Although little is known as to what caused the estrangement, what is known, is that Duane was once the security chief for his famous half brother. Prince later fired and filed for a restraining order against Duane.
Another half sibling named Alfred Jackson told a reporter he and Prince hadn’t spoken to one another in fifteen years.
If Prince wanted either Duane or Alfred written out, or the amount of their inheritance reduced, he missed his opportunity. By not having a will he essentially gave them each a full sixth of his estate. By not having a trust, he reduced all his heirs’ inheritance, as his estate is now responsible for millions of dollars in legal fees, taxes and expenses for which it otherwise would not be responsible.
For more information about wills, trusts or other estate planning documents, please contact a qualified estate planning attorney.