Who needs a will? You do. Here’s why…

Last week, the world was saddened by the loss of Prince, one of music’s great geniuses. He was 57 years old, had holdings worth $300 million and, apparently, no Will. A surge of interest in all things Prince since his unexpected death has pushed estimates of the value of his estate as high as $500 million.

Given his long-standing battle against his record labels for control of his intellectual property rights, as well as a phalanx of managers, lawyers and accountants, the lack of a will is a baffling oversight. This is all but guaranteed to cause complications.

You may not have won seven Grammys or an Academy Award or sold 100 million albums, but you could still benefit from some estate and financial planning work, including a will. Preparations before your farewell tour will go a long way toward avoiding headaches, confusion and tax complications.

As many people are aware, without a Will, you are deferring to a probate court the right to distribute your assets. This is not how you want your final encore to end. If you have a substantial estate and die without a will, you are inviting a costly, time-consuming legal battle between your rightful heirs and people you never intended to benefit from your good fortune and hard work. The Prince estate already has what one entertainment website calls a kooky lawsuit claiming all of Princes music belongs to a guy in California. Its doubtful he will win, but I have no doubt it is going to cost the estate time and money to fight.

Be proactive to avoid confusion and expense: Without a will, state law takes over. This means that any person with even a wisp of a claim to your estate can petition the court to receive a share.

Steps to take:

  • Will
  • Transfer on death
  • Financial plan
  • Family meeting
  • Be proactive to avoid confusion and expense

See full story on ritholtz.com

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