By now, nearly everyone across the globe has heard about the passing of music legend Prince. Considering how protective the artist was when it came to his music, it might surprise Massachusetts readers that it appears that he had no will. It could take years before the fate of his assets is decided.
His sister has already petitioned the court to appoint an administrator to handle his estate. In it, she reveals that the music legend had six full or half siblings (that number includes her). Whoever ends up with the rights to his music will have the freedom to do what he, she or they want to with it despite how Prince protected it during his life.
It is rumored that he left behind a treasure trove of music that had not yet been published. The rights to those songs alone could be worth millions. In addition, as was seen in the estate of Michael Jackson, the value of the celebrity's image will also need to be assessed.
In Jackson's case, that determination might not be made until 2017. There is no way to know how long it will take in Prince's case. Since he apparently died without a will or any trusts, the IRS could also receive a substantial amount of money in the way of taxes from the artist's estate.
Prince has joined a list of celebrities whose estate planning falls short of protecting their assets. As a result, they are examples of what residents here in Massachusetts and elsewhere should not do when it comes to their estates. Not many people have the volume of assets these celebrities do, but that does not make the need for a will and other documents any less important.
Source: CNBC, "Prince's apparent lack of planning may cost his estate", Kelley Holland, April 26, 2016