By now, everyone knows that pop and rock superstar Prince died on April 21. He died suddenly, and it has now been confirmed that he died without a will.
Prince had been married, but was single at the time of his death. His only child died at one week old, and his parents were both deceased, so his heirs are his siblings. His sister, Tyka Nelson, asked the judge to appoint Bremer Bank as the trustee of the estate, which was ordered last week. The estate will be distributed based on Minnesota’s laws of intestacy.
In Ontario, as in most jurisdictions, intestacy laws are very strict. If you are married or have a child, they get priority over the estate. If you are not married and have no children, it goes first to your parents, then to siblings, then aunts and uncles, then nieces and nephews, then cousins. It appears that Minnesota law is similar and his siblings will inherit his entire estate.
Maybe this is what Prince would have wanted; he does seem to have been incredibly generous with his family over the years. However, he was also an active member of his church, which will get nothing, and he will pay significant estate taxes because of his lack of planning.
Prince’s estate will be just fine; even with high taxes, each beneficiary will receive quite a large sum of money. However, a bit of planning might have resulted in less tax and money distributed as he truly wanted. This is a lesson to us all: a lack of a will doesn’t lead anywhere good.