The importance of having a will
The death of iconic rock legend Prince, shook the music world, his failure to leave a Will, as revealed by his sister this week, brings further shock to those he left behind.
Under English law, dying intestate (without a Will) invokes a specific set of rules to deal with the estate (the intestacy rules). The deceased has no say in who receives their assets as this is determined by legislation. The rights family members may have to the deceased's assets will depend on their relationship to the deceased and the relationships of any closer relatives who may have survived.
Therefore, in addition potential expense and familial arguments, dying intestate may produce unforeseen and unwanted consequences.
Tyka Nelson, Prince's only surviving full sibling has stated immediate action was needed to manage his business interests. Prince's five surviving half-siblings who have reportedly been listed as heirs of his estate, could also stand to inherit a portion of this formidable wealth.
The state court of Minnesota has been asked to appoint wealth management firm, Bremer Trust, to administer the estate. Attorney, Stephen Hopkins, has said that under the law of Minnesota, Prince's assets will most likely be split evenly between Prince's sister and half siblings.
Had Prince lived in England, then under the English intestacy rules Tyka would receive all of Prince's estate and his half-siblings would not receive anything.
Music never played...
Further, it is reported that Prince left vaults full of unreleased music at Paisley Park and had been unclear during his lifetime about whether he wished this music to be released. It is therefore very difficult for his friends and family to know whether releasing such music posthumously would honour his wishes.
This sad situation highlights the importance of ensuring your end of life affairs are in order. Passing away without having made a Will can create huge expense, headache, heartbreak and acrimony for the loved ones you leave behind.
If you have not yet made a Will or wish to review your existing Will please contact Blake Morgan.