Prince's Death Reminds People To Leave A Will

Posted at 5:27 PM, Apr 27, 2016

Legendary artist and musician, Prince, died before creating a will, leaving his multi-million dollar empire to his siblings, and reminding everyone just how important have a will is.

He was bigger than life.  An artist who had it all including money, fame and talent like no other, but it appeared when he died, the one thing he didn't have was a will. 

Robert Pautienus of Fidelis Law was stunned.  "It's a little surprising that Prince didn't have pretty complex planning I would've thought," he said.

According to attorneys, his sister and five half-siblings each would inherit one-sixth of the estate since Minnesota law treats all siblings the same.  Pautienus says Tennessee uses a default plan if you have no will. 

"The important thing of having a will is you get to choose where your stuff goes versus the state of Tennessee saying where your stuff goes," he said.

It's easy if you're not really established.  "The way Tennessee has it set up is if you are single and you pass away and you have no children then it would go to your parents," said Pautienus.

After that, Pautienus said it starts to get messy.  "It becomes complicated if you're married you have children and you don't have a will because then what happens is it doesn't all go to your spouse," he said.  "Your spouse gets a child's share but never less than a third."

There's all sorts of wills like a holographic will that's handwritten or a will that's typed out. Both Pautienus said are not recommended.

"So lets say you sit down you type it out, print it out and you sign it, that's actually not a valid will," he said.  "It has to be witnessed by two witnesses, and it also needs to have a notary."

If you have lots of money and investments like in Prince's case its extra important to plan.  Without a will, your assets can be tied up in probate court for years. 

"There could be a million plus attorneys fees," said Pautienus.  "Just because there was no planning that simple planning would've been able to alleviate all of that."

Many lawyers charge a flat fee for a basic will but if you don't have very many assets and decide to do it yourself there's help for you as well online.  You can find it here.