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Lessons From Prince’s Estate Litigation

As anybody who follows the news knows, the estate of the rock icon Prince continues to be litigated in court, as issues and questions seem to arise regularly. In large part this is because Prince did not have a will nor any estate documents that anybody knows of. The publication Kiplinger recently ran an interesting article, giving some key takeaways that everyday people should consider and use when it comes to estate documents.

Plan Your Legacy

The first point brought up by the article is to think about and plan for your own legacy. If you have children who you want to be able to go to a certain college, or relatives who you would like to see reach certain goals, planning your estate properly can help accomplish these goals.

With Prince’s money, he could have considered how to change the entire country, if not the world, but your goals don’t have to be so big. How do you want to change or help your family or your favorite charities? Remember that planning your estate is declaring to those around you what and who your priorities are, and the things you think are important to you. Don’t let those questions be unanswered if something should happen.

Concerns of Single People

Prince was divorced and unmarried at the time of his death. Many unmarried people may have those who are close to them, whom they would like to see taken care of by their estate, but who don’t have a legal right to an estate in the absence of estate documents.

For example, a single person may have ex-wives they are close with, or girlfriends or fiancees that they never legally married. Those people could take a back seat to relatives by blood, if a court has to administer an estate, as seems to be happening in Prince’s case. Those blood relatives may be distant relatives that the deceased doesn’t have a relationship with. But the law recognizes them over “non-blood” relationships when it comes to devising property without estate documents.

Leaving Inheritances for Minors

You may want to leave something to those who are too young to use inheritances until they reach adulthood. A trust can help you determine who will manage the money, safeguard it, and use it as per your wishes. Without it, you leave those funds in the trust of someone you may not be as comfortable with, and without direction as to how and when the funds should be used.

Divorced families should take particular care. A divorced father leaving an inheritance to a child may not want his ex-wife, the mother of his child, determining how and when the father’s inheritance is spent for the child. That’s what could happen if there are no estate documents. A trust would allow the father to ensure that someone he selects manages the trust, the way the father wants it managed.

Make sure your estate reflects your wishes, and that your assets are safe and administered the way you want them to be. Contact Tampa business, asset and probate attorney David Toback to discuss a comprehensive estate plan.

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