A brilliant musician and un-rivaled performer.
An estate planning failure.
When Prince died at 57, his assets, including his music catalogue, intellectual property, and Paisley Park recording studio, were estimated to exceed $300 million.
But Prince, who powerfully controlled his music machine while alive, gave up that control when he died without a will, trust or other estate planning document.
Prince had no living spouse, children or parents. His complex estate will be divided among his siblings.
None, however, were involved in the music industry. How will they manage Prince’s intellectual property, NPG record label, royalties and unfinished song components?
And what, exactly, will they own?
Will each sibling receive a fraction of each finished and unfinished song, each distribution contract, each piece of real estate?
That could lead to an asset management disaster.
Or will each sibling receive an equal share of separate assets?
If so, how will the court determine who gets Paisley Park, who gets which Prince songs, and who gets which music contracts?
Any piecemeal division could threaten Prince’s overall music empire’s operations.
Maybe Prince didn’t want his siblings (or all of them) to receive his assets.
Or maybe he wanted his fellow musicians to have his Paisley Park recording studio; or to share his good fortune with his manager.
We will never know, however, because Prince never created an estate plan.
Had he done so, his wishes could have been realized, and he could have saved his estate hundreds of thousands in taxes.
So watch Purple Rain. Listen to Little Red Corvette. YouTube Prince’s SNL’s 40th after-party.
But first, be your own Prince. Create or review your estate plan.