Prince and Other Famous People Who Died without a Will

Prince and Other Famous People Who Died without a Will

by Bill High

Prince died on April 21, 2016.  Within days, his sister Tyka Nelson filed papers in probate court alleging that he died without a will.

Prince’s estate is said to be worth more than $300 million dollars.  Making matters all the more complicated is that his estate will hold title to his ongoing intellectual property rights.  This means that the management of his estate could be decades into the future.

Many have asked how Prince could die without a will—particularly given the top level of advisors who should have been around him. But Prince is not alone.  Here are ten others noted in a recent Forbes article:

  1. Abraham Lincoln:one of the most famous lawyers of our time and the sixteenth president of the United States.
  2. Martin Luther King, Jr.:civil rights leader and activist.
  3. Jimi Hendrix:one of the greatest guitar players of all time.
  4. Pablo Picasso:famous artist.
  5. Howard Hughes:entrepreneur and billionaire
  6. Bob Marley:Jamaican singer/songwriter.
  7. Kurt Cobain:singer/songwriter and frontman for Nirvana.
  8. Salvatore Phillip “Sonny” Bono: entertainer turned U.S. Congressman.
  9. Stieg Larsson:famous author.
  10. Steve McNair:former NFL quarterback and Pro Bowler.

That same Forbes article (April 27, 2016) noted that 54% of Americans over age 55 years of age don’t have a will.  Like Prince, 60% of those people say they just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

But as we learn from Prince and others, none of us can predict the time of our passing.  Celebrity status does not help us ward off death any more than the average person.  Good stewardship says that we should act now.  Are you one of those that should be acting now?

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Published May 31, 2016

Topics: Culture Commentary

Estate Planning

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