The family of the pop star Prince fear there could be a costly dispute over his multi-million pound fortune because he died without having made a will.
Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson, has asked a court in the United States to appoint a special administrator to manage his estate because he left no will or instructions as to who should inherit his wealth.
Legal proceedings will now be necessary to decide how his estate should be divided between his relatives. It’s feared this could prove both costly and stressful for the family members involved.
Unfortunately, like Prince many people fail to make a will and so without realising it, create unnecessary problems for their families. For example, if you die intestate – without having made a will – the taxman may take a share of your estate.
Some may also go to an estranged husband or wife.
The Law Society recently conducted a survey revealing that 73% of people aged 16 to 54 haven’t written a will. The figure is 64% for people aged over 55.
More than 20% of people said they didn’t make a will because they assumed that their estate would automatically go to their cohabiting partner or their family. This is not necessarily the case. If you die without having made a will, your estate is divided in a way laid down by law.
This means your money could go to your estranged spouse or distant family members you may not even like. Some may go to the government in tax. Unlike spouses, cohabiting partners have no automatic right to inherit your estate. They can be left in a very vulnerable position.
A Law Society spokesman said the figures are extremely concerning: “Thousands of people die every year without making a will or without a properly drafted will.
“Dying intestate not only means your final wishes will probably go unheeded, but the financial and emotional mess is left for your loved ones to sort out. This need not be your final legacy.
“Making a will is usually a very simple process but we urge people to use a qualified, insured solicitor because he or she will be able to spot the nuances that could lead to trouble later on if not properly addressed.”
Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of wills and probate.