Sadly, the legal issue that Prince’s potential heirs are facing is pretty common and it’s becoming an even more tangled web as relatives come out of the woodwork. Without a will, whoever can prove to be the next-of-kin is entitled to his fortune. And unfortunately this family drama will likely damage relationships over the lack of clarity as the estimated $300 million estate is divided.
We may not have an estate the size of Prince but LexisNexis reports that about 55 percent of American adults do not have a will. While it may not seem like a big deal to die without our estate in some kind of order, it makes a real mess for those who are left behind.
I like to say that if you don’t have a will, the government has one for you!
And the probate process is pricey! A prominent estate planning law firm estimates that probate costs grieving family members $2 billion annually with $1.5 billion of that going to attorneys; that’s 75%! As you can see, it pays to make a plan – unless you like attorneys’ fees.
For someone like Prince, whose business will continue to make money, a trust can be better than a will to manage those monies on an on-going basis. In fact, assets owned by a trust do not go through the probate process, which takes money out of an estate.
Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren, but the sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous.”
A will doesn’t have to be expensive, but if you draw up something yourself, please have an attorney to review it to ensure that you haven’t created a costly problem for your family. Ready or NOT, taxes on your estate will be due about 6 months after death.
Check out Crown’s advice for developing a will and download a free Will Planning Kit. While you are at it, I also invite you to take the FREE MoneyLife assessment.
Chuck Bentley is the CEO of Crown, the largest Christian financial ministry in the world, founded by the late, Larry Burkett. He is an author, host of My MoneyLife - a daily radio feature, and a frequent speaker on the topic of Biblical financial principles. Follow him on Twitter @chuckbentley and visit Crown.org for more help.
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