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Not everyone is a successful music artist like Prince, but he made a mistake I see too many people make all the time: he died without a will.  According to a recent court filing by Prince’s sister in Minnesota Prince died “intestate” meaning he did not have a will or living trust in place.  Because there is no plan in place the state will now decide who is in charge of Prince’s estate, and who will be the beneficiaries of his estate. 

Who is in Charge?

The court has appointed Bremer Trust as special administrator to supervise Prince’s assets and locate his heirs.  A financial services company, Bremer Trust now has to navigate complicated family relationships, and a complex set of assets, including Prince’s master recordings, royalties from more than 30 albums.  If Prince had been able to plan, he could have selected a person or company who would have had a better understanding of his wishes and his estate. 

Who are the Beneficiaries?

If you don’t have a plan in place, the state has one.  You just may not like it very much.  In Prince’s case, Minnesota will give his rather large estate to his surviving siblings and half-siblings.  Minnesota treats half-siblings the same as full siblings.  Prince’s parents predeceased him, otherwise they would have been the beneficiaries. 

Avoid Prince’s Mistake By Planning Now

Estate plans prepare your family for the legal challenges they will face if something were to happen to you.  Will they `be equipped with the legal documents they need?  And will the right people be in charge, or will that choice be left to chance and the whims of a judge?  Lastly, will you choose your own beneficiaries, or will that choice be left to the state?  You can avoid Prince’s costly mistake by planning now.