There’s no doubt; you felt a shockwave when you heard that pop singer, Prince, had died. There is a myriad of thoughts that always runs through our heads when we hear about surprising high-profile celebrities dying – most of which lead back to the inevitability that we are mortal. And while we may have little in common with the pop-icon, one similarity is protecting our assets and ensuring that our final wishes are met.
Regardless of how much wealth we accumulate, the adage, “you can’t take it with you,” still applies. After the initial days of celebrity and fan reaction after someone famous dies, the reality sets in of honoring last wishes for burial or cremation, and distribution of property and assets. Prince apparently left no will. Financial analysts and lawyers foresee a potential power struggle over the singer’s assets and wishes.
Every state has different rules and guidelines for this scenario. The singer’s sister has already filed a claim in Minnesota probate court to appoint a special administrator. This could lead to a potential court battle between relatives, former spouses, and others who believe they have a claim. Not leaving an estate could be damaging to not only those who may not receive a rightful share but also may contribute to a management of Prince’s legacy that goes against his wishes.
Here in California, when you die without a will, you are considered to have died intestate, and the state labels your assets as intestate succession. Everything must pass through the probate process, and the court determines where your assets go. The distribution configurations vary based on whether or not you are married, have children, or have surviving parents. These probate codes § 6400-6414 will assess all of your relationships to determine how your assets are divided. While the process may seem easy because of a set of guidelines, it is not only an exhaustive legal process but also can be emotionally draining to all of the people involved.
The best way to avoid additional turmoil after an already emotional death in the family is to protect yourself with a will and to prepare a thorough estate plan with legal experts. Heritage Law, LLP advises people who have families or businesses the best way to plan for continued financial security through wills, trusts, gifts, and other estate planning. Don’t gamble on the future of your loved ones after you are gone. Work with Heritage Law attorneys to structure a pour-over will, a revocable living trust, and to take title of your assets. You can also set up a system for financial power of attorney should you meet an unfortunate, incapacitating accident. No matter how complex your needs are, ensure that your final wishes are left with firm guidance to usher your loved ones into the next chapter of their lives safely and with structure.