THE FAMILY TREE ISN’T ALWAYS FAMILY
Everyone’s family tree is unique but usually in all of them there is a cousin, a sibling, a step-sibling or some kind of relative we don’t always “claim.” In some cases, there are issues with family members that have created a permanent divide. If you consider your “Life’s Work™” (everything you own, everything you have worked for), would you really want it all to be equally divided among all your family members?
Even further, would you leave your estate to someone who had sued you twice, haven’t seen in over 15 years, fired or had a restraining order against? Probably not. Unfortunately, this is going to be the case for Prince and here’s why:
NO WILL OR TRUST
As time passes, it becomes clear that the iconic musician Prince died without leaving a Trust or Will. He was a tremendously organized, articulate and motivated businessman, protecting and planning for his business empire. However, he did not plan for his own demise. (click here)
As I have said before, a lot of people cannot deal with the fact of their own mortality. My father would say, “None of us are getting out of here alive anyway”.
Prince died without leaving a spouse or any living children. His parents are deceased.
THE FAMILY TREE
So far it appears that Prince’s left one (1) full sister and seven (7) half siblings.
His mother was the second wife of his father. His father also sired two (2) children with his first wife while he was married to Prince’s mother, his second wife. Later Prince’s mother and father divorced and then married other people creating more siblings.
Prince’s full sister produced a successful album, but has battled drug addiction for years. Prince was able to help her into a drug rehabilitation facility.
His oldest half-sister sued Prince in 1987 saying that he had stolen lyrics from her song. She sued him a second time challenging Prince’s handling of their father’s estate.
One half-brother did not attend any public hearings.
Another half-brother said he had not seen Prince in “almost 15 years”.
One half-brother had been in charge of Prince’s security for some period of time until Prince fired him. After that Prince obtained a Restraining Order against that half-brother. That half-brother has died and apparently left two (2) children, which should get his share.
Another half-brother lives in a house that Prince owned.
QUESTIONABLE FAMILY TREE
Prince’s father apparently had other children outside of his two marriages, siring a number of children in and out of wedlock. One gentleman in prison has already filed a claim in Prince’s Probate Proceeding claiming that he is a half-brother. There may be more unknown half-siblings showing up out of the woodwork.
Do you think Prince would have left his Estate to these family members and with equal shares?
Do these people sound like people you would want to leave your “Life’s Work™” to? Possibly the one full sister, and maybe some others, but people who sue you and who you obtain Court Restraining Orders against are not people you normally want to have over for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Therefore they are not people you would want to leave your “Life’s Work™”. Everything you have worked for and own at the time of your passing.
One hears that, “You do not want to reward bad behavior”. Therefore, it is unlikely Prince intended to leave part of his estimated hundreds of millions of dollars estate to people who had sued him, or he had to obtain Restraining Orders against, or who he had not seen in almost “15 years”. Normally we leave our inheritance to people that we love and want to reward for being good to us and being in a good relationship with us.
Prince’s poor planning will likely cause a business catastrophe. Prince spent years of effort and hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation to protect his music rights. Now this group of shirttail relatives is likely to cannibalize his music in just a few years.
EVERYONE needs to have an Estate Plan. They need to have a Trust or a Will setting out where they want their assets to go when they pass on.
Remember you need to have an updated and correct Estate Plan in place. Again, as my dad would say, “Nobody is getting out of here alive anyway.”
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At the Law Firm of Steven Andrew Jackson, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, we have helped hundreds of families protect themselves and their loved ones, avoid Estate Taxes and Probate Costs, and keep their Estate Plans current with the law through The Customized Protective Estate Planning Solution™.