Tags: Prince | will | estate | End of Life Planning

What Prince Is Teaching About End of Life Planning

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Wednesday, 04 May 2016 07:35 AM Current | Bio | Archive


In many of the 50 states, a person’s estate will be distributed according to the terms of the deceased’s will and the validity of a will can be challenged with allegations that the deceased lacked capacity or was unduly influenced.

“Estate planning can be an empowering process because you, not the state, dictate who will inherit your estate and who will handle your estate business in the interim,” said Aaron Dobbs, probate attorney with Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey.

However in Prince’s case, whose birth name is Prince Rogers Nelson, no will has yet surfaced to dictate how his $150 million musically inspired fortune should be disbursed.

“Since Prince did not leave a will, state law usually dictates that the estate passes to the person’s family and his family, referred to as heirs, will be determined through a judicial proceeding where the court will formally declare the names of each person inheriting and each person’s share of the estate,” Dobbs said.

The story has unfolded with a judge appointing a special administrator to shepherd the superstar’s assets. In addition to his sister Tyka Nelson, Prince’s siblings include Alfred Jackson, Norrine Nelson, Sharon Nelson, Omarr Baker and John Nelson.

“It is a recipe for disaster when relatives are fighting over money, there isn’t a will and an unsuspecting family member asks the court to step in because they will begin giving most of their money to probate attorneys,” said Michael Larsen, author of "Guardianship: How Judges & Lawyers Steal Your Money."

The state of Minnesota will take its chunk of change from Prince’ estate as a matter of taxation and the Feds are also expected to swoop in and pick at Prince’s pie. “There will be interesting federal estate tax issues involving how to value his music and other intellectual property assets,” said Ellen Aprill, professor of trusts and wills with Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

And then there’s post-mortem right of publicity.

"Prince's situation is emblematic, as is Michael Jackson's, of why we should not treat the right of publicity as a transferable property right," said Professor Jennifer Rothman, founder of the website Roadmap to the Right of Publicity.

Juliette Fairley is an author, lecturer and TV host based in New York.

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In many of the 50 states, a person's estate will be distributed according to the terms of the deceased's will and the validity of a will can be challenged with allegations that the deceased lacked capacity or was unduly influenced.
Prince, will, estate, End of Life Planning
373
2016-35-04
Wednesday, 04 May 2016 07:35 AM
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