Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson, has filed documents in Carver County, Minnesota, to request a special administrator to tend to the settling of Prince’s estate, valued at potentially $300 million dollars and growing. How do I know this? I read the documents. They’re public record. Anyone can read them.
I always tell my clients that if you don’t have an estate plan, the state has one for you. Though I’m a huge fan of Prince’s, Prince may not be a fan of the state’s plan for his “Little Red Corvette.” Sorry, I can’t resist the song puns. Are they making you “Delirious?”
There are so many lessons to be learned from this. Here are three big ones:
You & Your Family Will Have Private Information Go Public Unless You Plan Properly
In the court documents filed by Prince’s sister, she had to disclose her home address, the last known home address of Prince, and the names and addresses of all of his five living half brothers and sisters, who also stand a chance at inheriting some of his fortune.
If Prince had worked with a trusted advisor to properly prepare an estate plan during his life, absolutely nothing would have to be handled in court or in public. Nobody would have to know his home address and nobody would have to know the names and addresses of his siblings.
Because this information is public record now, anyone wanting to approach Prince’s family members with interesting financial opportunities or scams can do so. Predators, people with shady investment opportunities, luxury car dealerships — all these folks know exactly who to contact now and exactly how to contact them.
You Could Actually Harm Your Family Without A Plan to Protect Them
Tyka and Prince were not known to be very close. They had been through a lot in their relationship since Prince helped Tyka get into a rehab facility in 2008 after her struggle with addiction. Prince was, however, known for his humanitarian efforts and was a generous donor of his time and money to various causes.
With a proper estate plan, Prince could have generously provided for causes he believes in. Prince could have also provided for his sister in a trust that would have given her lifetime asset protection without running the risk of her receiving assets outright, which would offer a greater protection against any triggers to relapse that coming into large sums of money might have on Tyka.
Your Business Must Be Part Of Your Estate Plan
Prince was known to be very heavily involved in his business and every decision that was made in it. If you’re a business owner, of course you are, too. Prince, like many business owners, employed people who have families who depend on their salaries to live. He also had many unreleased songs. Those unreleased songs, along with the huge increase in sales of his existing albums since his death, are all part of his estate.
Since Prince did not have an estate plan, it is incredibly likely that he did not have a business succession plan. This means that his sister, who was not at all involved in running his business with him, and his half-siblings, will be the ones with legal authority to step in and run his business now. Imagine getting 6 people to agree on each decision that needs to be made in your business?!
The best way to find out exactly what would happen in your situation if something happened to you is to come in for a Family Life & Legacy Planning Session with our firm. In this session, we’ll whiteboard with you exactly what would happen if you didn’t change a thing — the state’s plan for you. Then, we can identify what you like and don’t like about what would happen, and decide if you need to take these lessons from Prince as Signs O’ the Times, and make sure U Got the [Estate Planning] Look.