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Estate administration difficulties for Prince’s heirs

In recent years a number of celebrity artists passed away. Unfortunately, the families of some of these pop culture icons are unable to fully move on and find closure. Some of them, like Prince’s for example, are stuck in long and incredibly expensive legal proceedings because no will has been found, or one was never written in the first place. As some Massachusetts residents may be aware, in the absence of a will, the task of estate administration is handled by the state’s laws of intestacy. 

Prince’s family has become increasingly concerned with the amount of money that is being drained from the estate by the law firm tasked with administering the musician’s estate.  The estate was, at one point, estimated to be worth between $100 and $300 million before taxes. Since being put in charge of the estate, the firm has received nearly $6 million in legal fees as well as $125,000 in monthly compensation. 

The family has claimed mismanagement of the estate and has filed a petition to end the monthly payments and to have any excess charges returned to the estate. There have also been a large number of smaller charges spread out over time that concerns the family. They are worried that when the estate is finally distributed to Prince’s heirs — his siblings and half-siblings — there will be little, if any, of the once-large estate left. The law firm has chosen to fight this petition by utilizing two of its own attorneys paid through the estate accounts. 

While this is an extreme scenario, it illustrates how the lack of a will or other estate planning measures can complicate estate administration. Massachusetts residents who wish to learn more about estate administration and the probate process could benefit from speaking with an attorney. A lawyer can help clients to understand how their estates will be handled after their deaths so that they can plan effectively.   

Source: startribune.com, “Prince heirs say excessive lawyer’s fees will leave nothing for inheritance“, David Chanen, March 2, 2018

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