What Happens If I Don’t Have An Estate Plan?

What do these individuals share?

• Howard Hughes
• Pablo Picasso
• Jimi Hendrix
• Abraham Lincoln
• Sonny Bono
• Prince

Give up?

None of these people had an Estate Plan (Will or Trust) at the time of their death, which, in some cases, ignited years of court battles. Of course, no one expects to die until well into old age. We have the expectation we’ve got plenty of time to get everything in order. Or, in Prince’s case, he had it in his mind he wasn’t going to die at all.

When Prince did die on April 21, 2016, the superstar was worth upwards of over $200 million at his home in Minnesota. After many would-be-heirs attempted to claim some of his fortunes, the Courts determined that only six people (a sister and five half-siblings) had any claim. Unfortunately, before his death, Prince’s relationship with each of these people was strained.

As of spring 2019, the massive estate has not been settled, and the 3-year battle between lawyers, heirs, consultants hired to determine worth, DNA tests, probate courts, and the mounds of paperwork have racked up over $55 million in fees. If that wasn’t enough, the estate owes 40% of the total value of his estate to the federal government and 16% to Minnesota for estate taxes.

All of these issues could have been eliminated or minimized with a proper Estate Plan.

Prince was a visionary, an amazing musician, and his music and lyrics will live on with his fans, but there are lessons we can ALL learn from this unfortunate situation. If you don’t make a plan, a plan will be made for you. For Prince, all his money will go to the government, lawyers, and estranged family members.

While most of us will never be in the same tax bracket as Prince, everyone can still plan to ensure that their estate (no matter how big or small) doesn’t end in a battle.

The process is nowhere near as daunting as you may think. It all starts with a conversation. Ross Estate Planning, LLC serves Door, Kewaunee, Green Bay, and Northeast Wisconsin. We specialize in asset protection, estate planning, and business planning for individuals and families, organizations, and company owners with over 40 years of expertise. When providing high-quality estate planning services, educating the customer and obtaining correct information is a top priority. We offer clients and interested clients a complimentary estate planning book and a complimentary consultation with an experienced attorney.



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