When There’s a Will, There’s a Way

The untimely death of pop star Prince, 57, earlier this year was met with shock by his worldwide fanbase and the general public alike. Even more surprising was the fact that the multimillionaire passed away without a legal will.

When the news broke that Prince had not designated a legal heir, more than two dozen people reportedly came forward with claims that they were related to the fallen music icon. After weeks of interviews and investigation, the court overseeing Prince’s estate has found that only six possible heirs remain.

Without a will to guide the process, a special administrator was appointed to oversee the process, including hiring outside law firms to determine the extent of Prince’s existing assets and those that will be accumulated in the future through recording rights. As a result, the administrator recently petitioned the court for $2 million in legal fees that have already accumulated. People will complain about how the lawyers are getting rich off of Prince’s artistic body of work, but the irony is that Prince alone had the power to prevent it.  

He could have had a will.  

Sure, a will would have cost him some legal fees, but nothing like the fees that are likely to be spent before all of this is resolved.  When you don’t indicate where you want your money and your stuff to go, the courts have to figure it out.  And that takes both money and lawyers.  

The list of celebrities and other wealthy individuals who have died without a will is longer than you might expect. From TV star Sonny Bono to famed artist Pablo Picasso to former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, there have been many who have gone to the great beyond without leaving instructions for how to settle their affairs.

The legal battle over Prince’s estate and the millions of dollars being spent are just the most recent reminders of the valuable role that estate attorneys play in our legal system.  So for all of you who have been fortunate to amass a huge amount of assets, and you don’t want to have lawyers battling over your estate, the advice is simple.  

Hire one attorney, and have him or her prepare your will.  

Posted: 8/31/2016 8:00:29 AM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

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About This Blog

Thanks for stopping by On the Merits, the first blog from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics. On the Merits will take a close look at significant legal stories with an eye toward addressing the legal myths and misconceptions that turn up in news stories, movies, TV programs, websites, anonymous emails and other forms of mass communications. Our goal at On the Merits is to provide readers with a thoughtful examination of what the media and others are saying about the legal profession and to apply the frequently-absent context of how the legal system actually works.

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