It has been widely reported that popular musician Prince died in late April without a Will or any estate planning documents–why should this matter to a Tennessee resident? The simple answer, if you die without a Will or other valid estate planning document, all important decisions are taken out of your hand, including:

  • Who receives your assets, and how & when they receive them. Want to leave one child or beneficiary a different share of your Estate? It won’t happen. Want to leave a specific asset to one beneficiary? It will only happen if all your beneficiaries agree. In Prince’s case, it has been widely reported that many individuals claiming to be related to him have come out of the woodwork including half-siblings and other distant relatives that may have never even met the pop star (some may be forced to undergo DNA testing to prove their relation).
  • Who will gather your assets and distribute them after your death? Without a Will, a Court will appoint someone, who could be a relative or local bank, but one thing is for sure, the administration of your Estate will be more expensive and likely take more time without some direction in the form of a Will or other estate planning. In Prince’s case, the local District Probate Court first appointed a “special administrator” (Prince’s longtime Bank) to preserve the Estate until an Executor is appointed by the Court to oversee the administration, which is likely to take years due to litigation over how Prince’s assets are divided. If Prince had a Will, he could have directed which of his relatives received his assets and who would be named Executor. Or better yet, Prince could have executed a revocable trust and taken steps to avoid any court-supervised administration.

Don’t end up like Prince, whose Estate will likely incur thousands of dollars in unnecessary expenses that could have been easily avoided with a Will or other valid Estate Planning document. His beneficiaries will likely still inherit large sums of money, but that is still thousands of dollars that his loved ones would have received and a lot less time and stress over litigation if a simple Will or other estate planning document(s) had been drafted.

If you would like to speak to Kevin Dean on this or any other matter, he may be reached at (865) 546-9321.