Prince's Passing Poses Probate Problems

A music icon passed away, conjuring up memories of great music and questionable clothing choices (think Super Bowl halftime performance). With the conclusion of his corporal existence came a startling disclosure: Prince died intestate. That is, despite an estimated cumulative value of $49,000,000, Prince failed to spend a couple thousand dollars on a will.

The consequences are already extraordinary. With up to 6 beneficiaries, an apparently unorganized or hidden set of financial records, and no will or trust, a prominent Minneapolis firm where partners charge $550 or more per hour has been engaged and a request for a third-party personal representative has been requested. I expect the third-party personal representative will charge upwards of $200 per hour. With years of probate proceedings coming down the pike, the probating of Prince's estate will cost, I conservatively estimate, $300,000.00.

I appreciate the former symbol had an independent streak and liked to control his own business affairs. The point of estate planning is to assert that control while you can—while you're alive!

Very few estates are as large or valuable as Prince's. But, the importance to you and your estate of saving $3,000 on a probate proceeding for the comparatively minor cost of a will may mean even more to your beneficiaries than $300,000 may mean to Prince's beneficiaries.

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