New York Estate Litigation Attorney
Though family members, friends and lawyers say the search continues for any legal document governing the distribution of pop megastar Prince’s hundreds of millions of dollars, sources close to the icon say that it’s highly unlikely that he left a will or any other type of estate planning document. The star had no known children—though an inmate in a Colorado prison has claimed to be the only legitimate child of Prince and demanded a DNA test. He was not married, either, so speculation is that his massive estate will be equally divided between his biological sister, Tyka, and his five living half-siblings.
But the distribution of his estate promises to be a long and arduous process, one that would likely have been greatly simplified if he’d executed a simple will. It’s not just the distribution of assets, either. The first question, before anybody considers who will get what, is who will act as administrator of the estate. A will customarily identifies the person that the decedent wants to oversee the orderly distribution of the estate. Even when a person has been named in a will to do that, the probate court must still appoint an administrator (also known as an executor or personal representative). For the moment, it appears that cooler heads have prevailed with respect to Prince’s estate, as the family has agreed (all but one of his half-siblings signed off on it) to have a separate third party appointed as administrator.
So it all points to the importance, no matter how large or small your estate, of putting an effective estate plan in place. Here are the principal reasons for doing so:
Avoid Intestacy Laws
If you die without a will or other estate plan in place, you are said to have died intestate. Every state has its own intestacy laws, which set forth the order of distribution of an estate where the deceased has failed to do so. In many instances, the laws of intestacy will divide your property similar to the way you would have chosen to distribute it yourself, but there’s no room for flexibility. You won’t be able to leave more to one beneficiary than to another. You won’t be able to leave anything to charity, including your church or temple. If your estate includes property that can’t be readily divided, it may have to be sold to equally distribute your estate.
Make Intentional Gifts or Limit Access to Assets
When you prepare and execute a will or a trust, you can leave a legacy to a person or organization, in the form of a specific bequest. If you have a friend, business associate or favorite charity, you can direct that some portion of your estate be directed there. In addition, you can use a trust (or set up a trust through your will) that protects both your estate and the beneficiaries of your estate. For example, you can set up your estate so that any minor children (or other beneficiaries) only have access to a percentage of the estate at any given time, or only if they meet certain conditions. You may require that your children complete college before having access to the estate, or you may make some portion of the estate accessible only after they have reached a certain age.
Make Life Easier for Those You Love
There have already been reports of shouting matches and public disagreement about the distribution of Prince’s estate. It’s pretty typical when heirs have no instruction or guidance regarding the allocation of property. A well-constructed estate plan is a gift to heirs, as it means they don’t have to squabble over the division of property.
Avoid Disputes over the Estate and with family
With a valid Will in place, you won’t have to fight over who will be named to oversee the estate. With the proper legal advice to assist you with the probating of the Will or administration of the Estate without a Will, we can help you avoid all the pitfalls before they happen. We can help you maximize the Estate inheritance, minimized issues and expenses. We have over 23+ years of experience with these matters. An attorney can help your heirs do that, should you die intestate—it’s something our office has handled for clients in the past.
Let the “law” in Lawston and our experience work for you. Our consultations are free . No obligation. If you do not have the funds (cash, liquid funds) to hire an attorney but need an attorney to deal with the Estate, we have special retainers. Our legal fees can be paid by the Estate. As an executor or administrator, your attorney is paid by the Estate, you are not liable for such fees but you can liable if you make a mistake.
Hire an estate attorney before you make a mistake that can cost the estate several thousands of dollars and possible breach your fiduciary duties causing other issues.
Contact the Law Office of Bonnie Lawston
To learn more about how we can help you prepare and implement an effective estate plan, contact our office online or call us at 877-581-8498.