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Prince Dies Intestate

The world was shocked last week to learn of Prince’s premature death. This week it has come to light that the pop star may have died intestate, leaving a fortune estimated at $150 to $300 million.

The news made headlines yesterday when Prince’s sister applied to the court to ask that an administrator be appointed to act on behalf of the estate since no will has been found. While it is possible that a will may surface at some point, at present it appears that the star neglected to leave a will.

Under the Minnesota laws of intestacy, Prince’s estate will devolve to his next of kin. Since he was not married, had no children and was predeceased by his parents, his next of kin is his biological sister and his five half-siblings. Notably, Prince’s two ex-wives do not qualify and his half-siblings are treated the same as his full biological sister for distribution purposes.

While the ex-wives do not qualify as beneficiaries under the laws of succession, it is possible that they may have claims against the estate. In Ontario for instance the legal obligation to provide support to a dependant, including ex-spouses, is binding and survives one’s death. This means that a spouse in Ontario can bring a claim against the estate of her ex in the event he dies without providing adequately for her support upon his death. I am involved in numerous such claims, including acting for spouses bringing claims for support and estate trustees in defending support claims.

It is also unfortunate to consider that Prince’s many charitable interests may not benefit from his fortune since if no will is in place, the siblings alone receive his money.

It is frankly hard to imagine that with his fortune Prince did not take the time to have a will prepared. This is yet one more reminder of the importance of taking care of one’s affairs prior to death. Thanks for reading,

Jason