Most of us think the rich and famous obviously must plan for the future. Especially someone as forward thinking as Prince. Unfortunately, the tragic and untimely death of Prince has once again brought into light the terrible problem with failing to plan for the future. Over the past week since the superstar’s death, several media outlets have extensively detailed the painstaking control the artist exerted over his brand, personal life, and music rights. Notwithstanding such a detail oriented life, Prince failed to address the distribution of his estimated $300 million estate.
Prince, however, is not unique to this situation. A recent study conducted by Rocket Lawyer and appearing in USA Today shows that over 64% of adult Americans do not have a will. This does not even address the need of a Trust which is discussed in my other blogs. One may wonder why a vast majority of American’s would leave the control over their children and assets to default provisions referred to as “Intestacy.”
The survey showed that almost 27% of those who responded that they did not have a will stated they lacked one because they did not have any real urgency to get one. Another 15% did not think they needed one at all. Lastly, 58% of those surveyed who did not have a will, admitted they needed one, but just had not gotten around to creating one.
The problem is most people do not like to think about death. It's much easier to believe we are immortal and can live on forever. The crux of this thinking, however, is when unexpected events happen, as in the case of Prince, we leave our estate and family completely unprotected and subject to public scrutiny.
Just today, Prince’s sister filed a probate case for his estate. Now instead of a private, quiet resolution to his estate, Prince’s family will hash out their differences in a very public probate proceeding which will likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you have loved ones you want to protect or have an interest to control the distribution of your property you should, at a minimum, have a Last Will and Testament.