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Money Don’t Matter 2 Night?: Prince Estate Complicated by Lack of Will

In 1991, recording artist Prince released a song entitled “Money Don’t Matter 2 Night” with these lyrics:

Money don’t matter tonight  It sure didn’t matter yesterday  Just when you think you’ve got more than enough  That’s when it all up and flies away 

These lyrics may now have a new meaning for Prince’s relatives. Despite hundreds of millions of dollars in assets, the music star apparently never took the time to make a will before he died last month at age 57.

From the New York Times:

Prince died without a will, according to court documents filed by his sister on Tuesday, potentially causing big complications for that star’s sprawling financial estate and musical legacy. 

In probate documents filed with the Carver County District Court in Minnesota, Tyka Nelson, 55, Prince’s sister, said that her brother died without a spouse, children or surviving parents, and that “I do not know of the existence of a will.” 

If Prince left no trust or will, state law determines how the assets will be distributed. Attorneys say the more money there is at stake, the more likely there will be a dispute that could take years to sort out. 

For federal tax purposes, the only thing that matters is the value of the estate the day Prince died. By any measure, that’s a bundle. 

In addition to Prince’s physical assets – such as homes or recording equipment – the star owned intellectual property rights such as song copyrights or the trademark to his “Love Symbol”, as well as many unreleased songs. Each of those assets must be valued and then distributed as provided by the laws of Minnesota.

While most of us have assets far less than those of Prince, this is yet another reminder of the importance of considering your end of life wishes and consulting an estate planning attorney to ensure that those wishes are carried out.

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