The Elder and Disability Law Firm, APC May 3, 2019

The estate of a famous singer and songwriter demonstrates why those who have accumulated wealth should engage in an estate plan. Those in California and elsewhere can pay heed to the plight of a multi-million-dollar estate.

The singer passed away three years ago but did not leave a will or other estate succession document. With an estate estimated at $200 million and no spouse or children, many people lined up claiming to be heirs. According to court records, at least 45 people filed an interest as heirs.

After litigation, the court named his six brothers and sisters to be legal heirs. Estate property includes several parcels of real estate, including a Villa located in the Caribbean. It also includes a number of original recordings, furnishings and other property.

In addition to the legal fight over his estate, administrative fees and taxes have accumulated. Corporate administrators were appointed by the court; an administrator acts in the manner of an executor when a decedent leaves no will. The heirs are objecting to an administrator fee request of $45 million.

One of the complaints against the administrators is that estate taxes of $31 million are still outstanding and accruing interest. Interest on such a high amount can be several million dollars per year. The administrator expressed frustration that the estate is still open and not ready to be closed.

A will or trust established by this singer might have saved time and estate expense. If a will had been executed, the extensive claims of those asserting to be heirs might have been avoided. Those with assets to leave upon death may want to consider meeting with an estate planning attorney to discuss their options.

Source: The Real Deal, "Prince died three years ago, but the fight over his estate lives on.," Mike Seemuth, April 28, 2019.

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