skip to main content

Don’t be like Prince

May 12, 2016


Author: Jonathan Fouch


Prince, who had a storied music career, passed away on April 21 at the age of 57. A musical prodigy, he was a seven-time Grammy Winner and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

Yet for all his genius, Prince left behind no known Will or Trust to determine the division of his estimated 300 million dollar estate.

Consequently, much of it will be squandered.

The federal and state governments will take the first cut. His assets will be subject to a maximum 40% federal estate tax and a minimum 16% tax by the State of Minnesota. This could ultimately drain away 150 million dollars – or half his estate.

Next, his sister Tyka Nelson and his five half-siblings will battle it out in court for what’s left. According to CNN, the situation has already become contentious (the first meeting between the siblings ending in a shouting match). It’s likely that the subsequent legal fees will be through the roof.

Worse, more people are coming out of the woodwork, saying they’re a half-sibling. One man has even claimed to be Prince’s son, a long-forgotten love child. If this man can prove he’s actually Prince’s son, he could stand to inherit it all.

What will likely happen is that after the government takes its cut, his relatives will spend what’s left of Prince’s money on themselves.

This is such a shame, because Prince would’ve not wanted his legacy to be wasted. During his lifetime, he was a prolific philanthropist, and had several causes that were near and dear to him. These causes will likely not see another dime of Prince’s money.

Celebrity deaths often highlight the importance of getting an estate plan. The public quickly finds out that there was no Will or Trust, and then we watch as the family tears itself apart.

Yet, it’s critical to know that these estate issues can plague middle class families, too.

These families may not have a yacht to fight over, but they certainly can fight over grandma’s wedding ring, dad’s muscle car, or mom’s photo album. These kind of fights can be just as nasty, and can tear apart a family just as easily.

If you already have an estate plan with us, then great, you took the necessary steps to avoid this from happening.

If you haven’t done your estate plan yet, use this as an opportunity to schedule a free consultation with us to see what your estate planning options are.

Don’t be like Prince. Make sure you have your estate plan done.

Call us to setup a free consultation.

UPDATE 9-27-2016: just put out an update on Prince’s estate as of September 27, 2016. As to be expected, the situation is still a mess. Here’s a direct quote from the article:

“Judge Eide also had his hands full with dozens of people who claimed to be Prince’s blood relatives, including a Colorado inmate alleging to be his love child; a woman seeking $750 billion as compensation for her “now 40 years long post-Civil Rights Movement Sociopolitical Hostage Crisis” that somehow had something to do with the Purple One; someone who filed a billion-dollar claim thanks to an “implied agreement”; and a secret wife who claimed to be involved in a C.I.A. cover-up. On July 29, Judge Eide dismissed 29 of these cases and ordered DNA testing for Tyka, John, Norrine, Sharon, Brianna, and Victoria to determine who really is biologically related to Prince on his father’s side. The results of those DNA tests have not yet been revealed.”

Jonathan Fouch is the Marketing Director of Shea Aiello. His previous positions at the firm include being an Operations Manager and a Paralegal.

The information in this blog post is based on general legal and tax rules and is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal or tax advice. Readers should consult their own legal and tax advisors as to their specific legal or tax situation as it may require more complex analysis, or the consideration of other information.