Critter Corner: Why Are There So Many Problems With Prince’s Will Two Years After his Death?

Dear Magic,

I read somewhere that Prince died two years ago, but his heirs have yet to inherit any of his 200 million dollar fortune. How can this be?

Noah Money-Forthem


Dear Noah,

It’s true that it’s been two years, and Prince’s family has yet to see their inheritance. The reason is the fact that his estate is going through the lengthy, highly-publicized, and expensive process of probate.

Probate begins with the court-supervised process of authenticating a Will if the deceased made one. Probate also includes locating and determining the value of the decedent’s assets and debts, paying all final bills and taxes, and eventually distributing the remainder of the estate to the rightful heirs or beneficiaries. The probate court appoints a person or firm to handle any claims made against the estate, pay off all creditors, and distribute whatever assets remain under the laws of that state (if someone died intestate) or pursuant to a will if someone died with a will.

Probate is an complex, lengthy, tedious, and expensive public process. It involves a frustrating and onerous intrusion by the court, lawyers, and the public into what should be a very private process. A judge may have to determine who is a legitimate creditor, and may have to rule on distributions to beneficiaries. An estate may have to hire a lawyer to shepherd the executor through the legal maze. In the case of Prince, so far the cost to his estate is a whopping 9 million dollars in legal fees and payments to the estate administrator, and it’s not over yet!

With probate, all of your affairs become public knowledge. The contents of your Will, if you have one, are on file in the courthouse for all to read. Most people, especially celebrities such as Prince, who spend their lives trying to dodge the paparazzi, want to keep this information as private as possible.

Probate also takes time. Every state dictates that assets can not be distributed for a certain period of time after death, to allow creditors time to petition the court for  payment. The court, not your family, will supervise and authorize the settling of all debts and the payment of inheritances, in its time and with its inevitable delays. Currently, the executor of Prince’s estate can’t divide the money among his six surviving siblings until the IRS and the administrator agree on the value of the estate when Prince died, a process that has already taken two years and still continues.

Lastly, on a national average the probate process takes from 5-8% of your family estate out of the hands of your beneficiaries and gives it to the courts and other outside individuals. Again, there is 9 million dollars being paid to lawyers and administrators that Prince’s family will never see.

Don’t put your family through the nightmare of probate. Make an appointment with the lawyers at the Farr Law Firm to get your estate planning done, and have the peace of mind that this won’t happen to your loved ones.

Hop this is helpful,


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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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