In Minnesota, an executor and attorneys may have collected some money from the estate of the late musician Prince, but none of his heirs have received anything yet. Prince did not leave a will, and after two years, the probate process is still ongoing.
Probate is the process of paying off creditors and transferring a person’s assets to beneficiaries after that person’s death. The issue is that the executor and the IRS have not yet agreed on a value for Prince’s estate at the time of his death, and until they do, the estate will remain in probate. Estates that have a will also must go through probate, but when a person dies with a will, assets are usually distributed according to the instructions in that document.
If Prince had created a trust, not only would his intentions have been clearer but those assets would not have had to pass through probate. Furthermore, the six surviving siblings who are his heirs probably would receive more because the probate process costs money.
Unfortunately, it is not unusual for people to neglect to create an estate plan even when they have substantial assets. Estate planning requires thinking about a topic some people would prefer to avoid. Furthermore, some people may feel overwhelmed by the process of deciding who gets which assets and what responsibilities family members should have, including who should be guardian for their minor children or make medical decisions in case they become incapacitated. They should keep in mind that they can discuss these concerns with loved ones and with an attorney.
Source: Forbes, “Two Years Later, Prince’s Heirs Have Still Not Received A Penny Of His Estate“, Mark Eghrari, April 18, 2018