By David Shulman

The biggest enemy of proper estate planning is procrastination. As the world knows, Prince died last week. Today we find out that he died intestate, which is a fancy word that lawyers use for dying without a will. When you die intestate, the state determines how your property is distributed.

Prince was not married and was not survived by any descendants. Also, his parents are deceased. Under the law of intestacy, there is a set schedule as to who inherits your assets. Prince had one full sibling, Tyka Nelson, and five or six half siblings, some of which predeceased Prince. I do not know if any of those half-siblings had surviving children.

Nothing Compares to U – or Proper Estate Planning

Each state has their own intestacy law. In Florida, Prince’s full sibling would get a “full share” and the half-siblings would get half a share. But the law is apparently different in Minnesota.

Under Minnesota Statute 524.2-107, “The degree of kindred shall be computed according to the rules of the civil law. Relatives of the half blood inherit the same share they would inherit if they were of the whole blood.

So each brother and sister, whether a full sibling or a half sibling gets an equal share of the estate. Furthermore, if any of the predeceased siblings had living issue (children), then they would inherit their parents’ share. So if the estate is divided into sixths for the six siblings, and one if the deceased siblings had two children, then each of those children would inherit a 1/12 share.

Either way, there is plenty of money to go around.

But is this what Prince wanted? Did he want his siblings to get everything? For nothing to go to charity? To have to pay the maximum estate tax possible? To have his siblings own everything outright and not in trust so they can fight and be exposed to creditors?

Whatever happens, it’s going to be a glorious mess.