Texas residents who are unsure as to whether they even need an estate plan should bear in mind public disagreements over estates of people who have died, especially those who had significant portfolios and can continue making money after they have died. While the last thing that heirs want to think about after a loved one has died is a legal dispute and ongoing court battle, it is imperative to consider the implications of the failure to have a comprehensive estate plan. This is true for a prospective testator who is unsure of the value of a valid will and for those who are embroiled in a dispute after the person has died. Having legal assistance with probate litigation is vital regardless of the situation.
The continued legal wrangling over the estate of the musician Prince is still in progress, with heirs having received nothing so far. Because Prince died "intestate" - without a will - he left no guideline to base how his assets will be distributed. Prince died in April of 2016. He had six brothers and sisters who are eligible to receive portions of his estate. However, the executor, Comerica Bank and Trust, cannot agree with the Internal Revenue Service on the value of the estate. Therefore, it cannot be doled out.
The estimated estate value of $200 million is an estimation prior to it being taxed. It is not known how much the estate is truly worth, as there are documents that have been sealed and redacted. It could be more or it could be less. Appraisals of his property are ongoing. There have been continuous disagreements regarding the assets and the siblings are in a contentious battle. Comerica has made a motion for a settlement to end the court case and move forward, but the hearing for that has not yet been held.
When a person dies without a will, there are many different factors that must be considered by heirs and potential heirs, such as the estate's value, who has a right to be a beneficiary, how any disputes will be settled and much more. For those thinking about the importance of a will, Prince's situation is a case study of what can happen to someone with significant assets who dies intestate. It can also cause more problems than expected for someone who did not have significant assets. Those who are confronted with a situation in which a loved one died without a will undoubtedly understand the struggles that will come about.
Source: yahoo.com, "As Prince heirs stew, bankers and lawyers cash in on estate," Steve Karnowski, April 15, 2018