Prince's estate: More at stake than diamonds and pearls

Music fans across the world were devastated by the recent news that iconic entertainer Prince unexpectedly passed away. Friends, colleagues, musicians, fans and loved ones have shared countless stories about how the superstar touched, improved and/or affected their lives, but now the stories are becoming less about what we knew about Prince and more about what we don't know.

For instance, there is no denying the fact that Prince amassed huge amounts of money, assets and property during his life. Since his death, however, it is not known what will happen to all of it.

Unfortunately, no one has been able to locate a will for Prince, and his sister recently had to petition the courts to be named the executor of the legend's estate, so it is possible that complications will arise.

Not surprisingly, the stakes in this situation are quite high. Prince's estate is estimated to be worth about $300 million and includes multiple properties, the rights to massive released and unreleased music catalogs, a record label, guitar collections, and money earned through album sales and branding. It is also likely that the notoriously private entertainer had investments and earnings not publicly reported.

Further, while Prince was beloved by millions, his immediate circle of loved ones was small. At the time of his death, he was not married and he left behind no children. His closest relatives include one sister and five half-siblings. However, he was very active as a Jehovah's Witness and reportedly contributed to many philanthropic organizations.

Between the complexities of Prince's estate, the fact that no will has been located and the numerous parties that may be considered beneficiaries, there will almost certainly be issues that arise when it comes time to administer his estate.

This situation might serve as a grim reminder of how crucial it can be discuss your wishes with loved ones and protect them with estate planning documents sooner, rather than later. Untimely illness and death can be tragic enough for loved ones without the added anxiety that can come with trying to administer an estate without direction.

Source: MSNBC, "Prince's family heads to court to settle late pop star's estate," Stephanie Gosk, Chris Francescani and Corky Siemaszko, May 2, 2016

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