So far, 2016 has taken its toll in terms of celebrity deaths, more recently the sudden death of music superstar Prince that has hit the headlines.
Whilst Prince fans are devastated, what has animated lawyers is that (we believe) Prince did not leave a Will. Many might find this surprising, given his estimated $300m net worth but at the moment it seems that his estate will pass to his sister and his half siblings, who would then have to deal with the estate, the Prince brand, record label and unreleased songs.
Nobody yet knows whether this is what Prince intended or what he wanted. What is known is that his sister has already issued proceedings in the Probate Court. This is not a challenge to his estate but is to appoint a special administrator to deal with the estate, which would also mean a Probate Court Judge looking at any claim brought to dispute the estate or if a Will does appear. This could mean that Prince's estate is tied up in Court proceedings for years to come.
What does this mean for you?
In England, if a person dies without a Will (intestate) the law decides, based on a fixed order of priority - who gets what. This is not always what families intend, especially where the rights of any unmarried partner who would be ignored, as would any gifts that the deceased wanted to make to people outside of his family, for example friends or charities. The law also does not cater for the circumstances in which an intestate person has not had contact with their family for many, many years and so may not want to leave their estate to blood relatives.
The possibility of Court proceedings to challenge a Will or an estate if there is no Will can never be totally excluded and challenges to Wills and estates are on the increase, so to make sure that as far as possible, what you want happens, Will advice is essential.
To get in contact with a member solicitor from our Will writing team, please try one of the contact options listed on this page. Furthermore, if you have not benefited from an estate in the way which you feel you should have done, please select a lawyer who can assist with contentious probate matters.
Contact Oratto on 0845 3883765 to speak with an adviser or use our contact form to arrange a call-back.