Ohio residents may have heard that music icon Prince died in 2016 with no will. As a result, Prince’s sister and five half-siblings are still fighting over how his estate should be divided. Valued at about $300 million when he died, the estate will likely be cut in half because of taxes and lawyer fees. Regardless of how it is divided, it probably won’t be in a manner that Prince would have wanted.
This case shows why it is critical to create an estate plan that makes use of a will or trust to better control how assets are distributed. It is also important to determine who will be named as a beneficiary of each given asset. If an asset allows for a designated beneficiary, it is worthwhile to review that designation periodically. Young people may name a parent as a beneficiary before they have kids or get married.
By reviewing those designations regularly, they can be updated if a person’s needs or wishes change. Part of creating an estate plan is finding someone who will manage it. The executor of an estate can be a family friend, attorney or corporate entity. It can also be any other adult of sound mind who the estate holder trusts.
Making a will may allow a person to control where assets go and who receives them upon passing. Creating a trust may avoid probate issues such as a legal challenge by an heir or a creditor. Legal counsel may be able to help an individual create a thorough estate plan. The attorney could review or help an individual edit any estate plan documents that already exist. This may help ensure that changes are made in accordance with the law.