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The Prince Estate: A Cautionary Tale for Estate Planning

March 5, 2023

The death of legendary musician Prince in 2016 shocked the world, but what many people didn't expect was the lengthy and contentious legal battle that followed over his estate. Prince died without a will, leaving behind a complex estate worth an estimated $300 million. The legal battle that ensued offers valuable lessons for estate planning. Here's what we can learn from the Prince estate:

  1. Create a Will or Trust

Perhaps the most obvious lesson from the Prince estate is the importance of having a will or trust. Without a will, the distribution of your estate is left up to state law, which may not reflect your wishes. A will or trust can help ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and can minimize the potential for legal disputes among family members.

  1. Keep Your Estate Plan Up-to-Date

Prince's estate was complicated by the fact that he hadn't updated his estate plan in many years. His family members had to guess what his intentions would have been, and the resulting legal battle took years to resolve. It's important to keep your estate plan up-to-date as your life circumstances change, such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of children.

  1. Consider the Tax Implications

Another issue that complicated the Prince estate was the potential tax liability. Prince's estate was worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and without proper tax planning, a significant portion of that was lost to taxes. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you minimize your tax liability and preserve more of your assets for your heirs.

  1. Name an Executor You Trust

Prince's estate was complicated by the fact that he didn't name an executor in his estate plan. Without an executor, it was left up to the court to appoint someone to handle his estate. It's important to name an executor you trust, who can carry out your wishes and protect your assets.

  1. Protect Your Legacy

Finally, the Prince estate offers a lesson in the importance of protecting your legacy. Prince was known for his music and his creative vision, and his estate plan could have reflected that by ensuring that his music and other creative works are protected and preserved for future generations.

The Prince estate offers many lessons for estate planning. By creating a will or trust, keeping your estate plan up-to-date, considering tax implications, naming an executor you trust, and protecting your legacy, you can help ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your legacy is preserved for future generations.

This article is a service of The Bushman Law Firm, LLC, and Drew Bushman, serving the Greater Waco area in-person and all of Texas remotely. I don’t just draft documents; I am dedicated to educating out community so they can make informed and empowered decisions to provide for the people they care about and build a legacy worth leaving them. That's why I offer a Family Legacy Planning Meeting, during which my clients get a snapshot of what would happen to their family if something happened to them and then learn what the options are, with all of the associated benefits and risks, so they can decide what kind of estate plan is right for them. If that sounds interesting to you, you can go to my website,, today to schedule a complimentary consultation call.