When Prince died on April 21, it was a shock to many of his fans and those in the entertainment industry. However, a bigger shock was about to hit the news feeds — Prince died without a will.
How could someone that had achieved the fame and fortune of Prince die without a will. Wasn’t he surrounded by mangers, attorneys, accountants and other profession who would have advised the entertainer to have a comprehensive estate plan? You would think so, but for whatever reason, Prince did not have a will when he died, according to court papers filed by his family.
It is difficult to believe someone who was constantly dealing with contracts and other legal matters related to his music and his career would not take steps to ensure his estate was protected upon his death. Prince made one of the worst possible mistakes when it comes to estate planning — not having a will. Unfortunately, many people make this same mistake as well as other estate planning mistakes that cost their family time, money, and unnecessary stress.
Four Of The Worst Estate Planning Mistakes You Can Make
Not Having A Will
This is probably one of the worse planning mistakes you can make. If you die without a will in Ohio, the state decides who inherits your property and what percentage of property each heir receives. Without a will, you cannot control what happens to your property after your death. Friends and charities that you may want to inherit from your estate will not be allowed to receive anything because the state does not recognize friends and charities as heirs.
Furthermore, some of your family members may not inherit your property because the state dictates other heirs have priority. This can be easily avoided by consulting with a Dayton estate planning attorney to execute a will.
Failing To Name A Trustee And Guardian For Minors
Your heirs will have a difficult time probating your estate if you die without a will; however, if your children are minors at the time of your death, the process becomes even more difficult. Minors cannot inherit property in their name; a guardian must receive and manage the property until the child reaches 18 years of age.
If you do not establish a trust, either through your will or with a separate trust agreement, the court will appoint a guardian and the court will monitor that guardian until your child receives his or her inheritance. Furthermore, your child will receive his or her full inheritance at 18 years of age, regardless of whether he or she is still in high school. This may not be the best option. The court will also appoint a guardian to care for your child. Name a trustee and a guardian for your minor children may be the most important decision you make during the estate planning process.
Failing To Plan For A Disability
Estate planning is not just about determining how your estate will be distributed upon your death. Planning for a disability is an important step that should not be overlooked. If you were to become disabled, your estate plan can provide for your personal care and medical care as well as provide for your family. With the proper estate plan, you can make important medical decisions, such as whether you wish to have life-prolonging medical treatments, before you become disabled. You can also appoint someone to enforce your wishes regarding your medical care.
Examples of estate planning documents that you may want to consider as part of disability planning include:
- Living Will and Health Care Power of Attorney (Advance Directives)
- Financial Power of Attorney
Failing To Update An Estate Plan
Estate plans should be reviewed periodically, especially after major life events such as the birth of a child, the death of a family member, marriage, and divorce. Failing to update your will and estate plan could have catastrophic results. For example if you “put off” updating your estate planning after a divorce, your ex-spouse could inherit some of your estate if you die prior to making those changes. Reviewing your estate plan is a simple step that can avoid disastrous outcomes.
What Does Prince’s Family Face Now?
Prince has five half siblings, according to court papers filed by one of his sisters. Because Prince did not have a will when he died, Minnesota’s intestate laws will determine how the estate is divided among Prince’s heirs. The court will also appoint an administrator to manage the estate. Prince’s brothers and sisters may divide the estate equally; however, it may not be that easy.. Someone could claim to be an heir or the siblings may fight over how the personal property and other items should be divided. Having a will could have saved his family time and money as well as reduce the risk of disagreements as to how the estate should be divided.
Call A Dayton, OH Estate Planning Attorney Today
Everyone is susceptible to making these kinds of estate planning mistakes. You have to plan for the unexpected. Don’t leave your family with heavy legal fees and taxes to manage. Be responsible. Contact an estate planning attorney to protect yourself, your family, and your property.
Contact Lovett & House by calling (937) 429-7730 to speak with an experienced probate lawyer.