This month marks the two-year anniversary of Prince's death. Despite the amount of time that has passed, his heirs have yet to receive a penny of his estate due to his lack of an estate plan. This reality plays out with estates large and small in Texas probate courts every day.
Prince's estate, unofficially estimated at around $200 million, has been tied up in knots during probate due in part to the music legend not having so much as a last will and testament. Without a plan in place, the executor of the estate has been unable to even reach an agreement with the IRS on how much the estate is worth.
Not everyone has been left empty-handed, however. The amount paid thus far to the State of Minnesota and the IRS for tax purposes has not been disclosed but is certainly substantial. The attorneys for the estate have also been well compensated. To date, the estate attorneys and the executor have collected $5.9 in legal fees. That does not include a recent request for an addition $2.9 million in fees. If estimates of the value of the estate are correct, attorney fees alone are approaching 5% of the entire estate. With the appropriate estate plan, Prince could have avoided the probate process altogether and likely saved his heirs several million dollars in attorney fees.
The lack of an estate plan can delay the distribution of assets by a matter of months or even years. An individual seeking to have his final wishes carried out expeditiously may benefit from seeking guidance from an attorney with experience in estate planning. An attorney may be able to work with the individual to design a plan that will divide an estate efficiently and true to the individual's wishes.