When music icon Prince died, people were shocked that the singer and songwriter didn’t leave behind a will. His six siblings stood to inherit roughly $100 million. However, the licensing rights on many of his unpublished works could be worth much more.
Two of those siblings quickly divested themselves of much of their inheritance by selling their rights to the estate to the entertainment company Primary Wave. Since the estate has been held up in probate while various claims against it — some clearer than others — are settled, selling their rights may have been the best way they could find to access their inheritance quickly.
One of the singer’s brothers died just hours after signing the agreement with Primary Wave. That could complicate the probate process even further. Prince’s brother had a will, but it leaves the bulk of his assets to a friend. That friend is well-known in celebrity circles for his ties to famous entertainers in somewhat sketchy ways.
That will is probably going to be contested by relatives — many of whom seem suspicious that the deal with Primary Wave was barely dry when he died.
If an estate is in probate and is contested, more money gets spent on motions and fees. A strong estate plan, which may include trusts that will entirely bypass probate, can prevent a lot of expense and distress.
Don’t let your estate go to strangers — or anywhere else you don’t want it to go. Find out what it takes to create an estate plan that will benefit only the people you want to get your assets.