Fame, Fortune, But No Estate Plan: Naperville Lawyer on the Death of a Music Legend

will, Naperville estate planning lawyerWhile it might be a bit of a stretch to suggest that the world was shocked to learn that music icon Prince had died last month, it certainly came as a surprise to most people. Rumors and speculation about drug abuse and addiction continue to swirl, but, as of yet, the cause of the 57-year-old pop star’s death has not been officially determined. Even as the music industry continues to mourn, there is an even bigger mystery beginning to emerge, one regarding the status of the singer’s estate that some estimate could be worth as much as $300 million. Prince, it seems, died without any known will or other estate plan, leaving his fortune to be handled by the court in his home state of Minnesota.

In my practice as an estate planning lawyer, I have helped many clients develop a strategy for handling their estate and property following their death. I believe that everyone—not just the rich and famous—should have an estate plan to protect their assets and the inheritance rights of their chosen beneficiaries.

Surprising Oversight

A Minnesota judge has appointed Bremer Trust, as St. Paul-based financial institution, as a special administrator for Prince’s estate while the search for a possible will continues. The lack of a will seems out of character for an artist who maintained such careful control over his career. This is the same man who once changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol as a form of protest over a record contract that he found to be too constrictive.

The singer was also notoriously private, often disappearing for years at a time from the public spotlight, only to reappear later with another successful music venture. A properly developed estate plan could have kept the details of his estate private as well. Now, it seems that the entire process will play out for the world to see with all of the probate proceedings becoming public record.

Long Road Ahead

At least three individuals have already come forward claiming to be rightful heirs to at least part of the singer’s fortune. There is little doubt that more such claims will surface in the coming weeks and months, and each will need to be investigated for veracity. The full contents and precise value of Prince’s estate are also still in question, and may remain so for some time, as valuating the estate could be extremely complicated. “It’s one thing to divvy up dollars among six people,” said CNN legal analyst Danny Cevallos, referring to Prince’s sister and half-siblings, “but how do you divide a guitar collection, or Purple Rain, or an unfinished piece of music among heirs?”

Start Planning Now

The American Bar Association estimates that more than half of all Americans will die without a will or other type of estate plan. Of course, it can be difficult to consider your own eventual death, but your family deserves the security and peace of mind that an estate plan can provide. For more information, contact an experienced Naperville estate planning attorney. The team at The Gierach Law Firm is ready to help you develop an estate plan that protects not only your assets but your family’s privacy as well. Call 630-756-1160 to get started today.




Minneapolis Star Tribune


American Bar Association