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A Princely Estate and More Reasons to Draft a Will

Jan 12, 2017 | Operating Your Company

“And now folks, it’s time for ‘who do ya trust?’” — Jack Nicholson as Joker

Prince’s passing last year saddened his millions of fans. Since he had no will, his millions of dollars are now being distributed by rules and laws written by strangers who are long since dead because the Normans conquered the Saxons.

For these reasons, we discussed why you need a will and exit plan for your business.  

Now that his property and assets were announced, we know he had millions in cash, real estate, cars, and gold bars.  Yes, that’s right gold bars.  I didn’t read about any “diamonds and pearls,” but it’s certainly possible he owned some. The “party man” has provided a classic example of what not to do when it comes to your estate, because now we’re really all up in his business.      

When you die without a will, it’s known as dying “intestate” and the proceeding is an administration. This is the process in which letters are issued to a distributee(s) of the decedent who is eligible to receive them.

Basically, the judiciary says: “You didn’t want to draft a will? No problem! We’ll handle that for you and establish who’ll reap the benefits of your life’s work!”

Already feeling “delirious?”

If you’re fine with that, then I guess “money don’t matter 2 night!” You’re also obviously at peace with family “controversy” and the squabbles over everything from your “little red corvette” to your “raspberry beret.”

I know what you might be thinking — and you should see the song title references I’ve omitted. If we were discussing Scott Weiland, this post would be titled “Intestate Love Song.”

The process for determining who inherits your property and finances is covered under Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law 4-1.1 (EPTL). Give it a read. It’ll make your head explode. I’ve read it maybe “1999” times and “nothing compares 2” it. I have a WTF moment each time I see the following:

Distribution shall then be as follows: (a) If a decedent is survived by: (1) A spouse and issue, fifty thousand dollars and one-half of the residue to the spouse, and the balance thereof to the issue by representation.

I always ask: Who wrote that, and where did the $50,000 come from?

It can be such a quagmire to deal with laws and figures like this, and it’s all downhill from here. It’s all the more reason to draft a will. Spend the money, name your beneficiaries, and ensure the future of your business.

We’ll be learning even more about Prince’s estate because of his lack of a will, so don’t repeat his mistakes. He was busy cranking out 20 albums over three decades and touring on a discography of “musicology.” Since that’s likely not your scenario — it wouldn’t excuse you if it was — you can set aside an hour and meet with a trust & estate lawyer.

Contact Brinen & Associates to discuss your estate planning needs.


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I formerly worked as a satellite employee from my home state of New Jersey. I ended my employment with my former employer in 2016. In 2018, I was sued by my former employer for $1.1 million in Illinois State Court. I was referred to Brinen & Associates, LLC by a friend who is a client of the firm. Brinen & Associates, LLC came highly recommended. I contacted Joshua Brinen and then had a consultation at his office with his colleague Mark White. Together, Messrs. Brinen and White explained my options...

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