Decide to die without a will in place and you can expect a feeding frenzy of legitimate and wannabe heirs to show up after your demise with hopes of grabbing a share of your wealth. Don’t believe me? Then check out the list of Prince’s alleged heirs.
Before going there, I’ve written about dying without a will before. And, will continue to do so in the future for a couple of reasons: First, getting your financial ducks in a row is really important if you want the estate that you’ve created to be shared based upon your wishes. Which, BTW, won’t happen unless you do have a will in place. Second, to rest in peace.
Depending upon the source, somewhere in the neighborhood of 55 percent of us die without a will, or, intestate. Included in that figure is everyone from the uber-wealthy to those with limited funds and/or gifts they would like to pass on.
Back to Prince: He wasn’t the only internationally loved music-maker to leave this planet without a written plan showing how his treasures should be divvied up. Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix and Sonny Bono, for instance, all died without wills.
Prince’s death a few months ago, however, is the most recent and could wind up to be one of the most complicated. Nothing, however, has been formalized yet and getting it all sorted out could take years.
But there is a lesson in his dying intestate we can all learn from, as the list of people claiming to be heirs of this man who had no children is truly astounding.
According to a recent VanityFair.com story, People magazine reported 29 people have stepped up with palms open in hopes of getting a piece of Prince’s estate estimated to be worth somewhere between $100 million and $300 million.
Here are some of Prince’s alleged heirs, according to People:
- “Five alleged half siblings
- One alleged half niece
- One alleged half grandniece
- Three alleged long-lost half sisters
- One alleged long-lost half brother
- Eight alleged distant cousins
- One alleged illegitimate son
- One alleged adopted son
- One alleged (but unspecified) relative
- One Minnesota resident who suggests that the absence of a will means he could be an heir
- Four non-relatives alleging Prince owed them between $46,000 and $750 million in business expenses
- One non-relative alleging that, according to People, “he had a verbal agreement with Prince that gave him complete ownership of the artist’s musical catalog and vast vault of unreleased recordings”—maintaining that he is owed $1 billion”
So do yourself a favor: Have a will drawn up. You’ll be glad you did. Your heirs might not be, or, care for what’s in it. But hey, it’s your life and your wishes that count the most.