Prince and his estate: What can we learn?

Published 21 Jul 2016

After the death of Prince on April 21, the world seemed to slow down. With American heavyweights such as Bruce Springsteen and Aretha Franklin offering tributes, many came to realise what the world had actually lost.

However, with mourning mostly over, the focus now shifts to the late musician’s estate – which was left without a will – and the possible inheritance disputes that may arise.

Prince estate left to the courts

Prince, like many famous musicians, had a considerable estate at the time of his passing. Forbes estimates the estate’s worth to be anywhere between US $150 million and $300 million.

Speaking to the magazine, Laura Zwicker, a partner at Greenberg Glusker believed the situation to be unique.

“For significant estates, especially where the client has been really careful about their intellectual property during their lifetime, it’s surprising that there’s no trust in place,” she said.

Prince was notoriously selective about where and how people could access his music. He was one of the only artists to keep his creations from landing on streaming sites and other online ventures. In absence of a will, the late pop star’s estate will go to probate and will fall under the jurisdiction of Minnesota, in the United States.

Probate in Australia

Like the US, Australia has a system of probate as well. What this means is that if someone passes away, they are said to die intestate. The procedure in cases like this are significantly different than if a person passed testate (or with a will).

For instance, an administrator has to establish a line of inheritance where there is no will. In the case of Prince, this has become an expensive and time-consuming process. Due to his lifestyle, the estate has been inundated with family provision claims.

For people who have either been left out of a will, or believe they should receive a certain segment of the estate, it is essential to seek legal counsel. Even in cases where there is a will, an experienced contesting wills lawyer can help you evaluate your options.

At Gerard Malouf and Partners, we have helped individuals become a beneficiary of a will and helped beneficiaries attain a larger share of the estate. If you believe that your current situation does not reflect the relationship you had with the deceased, make sure you talk to a representative today to find out more.

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