&l;p&g;&l;img class=&q;dam-image getty size-large wp-image-86140585&q; src=&q;https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/dam/imageserve/86140585/960×0.jpg?fit=scale&q; data-height=&q;644&q; data-width=&q;960&q;&g; NETHERLANDS – MARCH 25: Photo of PRINCE; Prince performing on stage – The Ultimate Live Experience Tour (Photo by Paul Bergen/Redferns)
&l;/p&g;&l;p class=&q;speakable-paragraph&q;&g;If you&s;re a Prince fan, you probably know that a few days from now marks the&a;nbsp;second anniversary of his death. But what you may not&a;nbsp;know is that to this point none of his heirs have inherited any portion — not even a penny — of his estimated $200 million estate.&l;/p&g;
&l;p class=&q;speakable-paragraph&q;&g;Why?&a;nbsp;For one thing, Prince not only died without having an&a;nbsp;estate plan in place, he hadn&s;t&a;nbsp;even created&a;nbsp;a Will.&a;nbsp;That makes&a;nbsp;the process of settling his estate much more complicated; for example, the&a;nbsp;executor of his&a;nbsp;estate can&a;rsquo;t divide&a;nbsp;the money among his&a;nbsp;six surviving siblings until the IRS&a;nbsp;and the executor agree on the value of the estate when Prince died.&l;/p&g;
&l;p class=&q;speakable-paragraph&q;&g;But that doesn&s;t mean &l;em&g;some&l;/em&g; people aren&s;t getting paid.&a;nbsp;While public&a;nbsp;filings don&a;rsquo;t disclose&a;nbsp;how much the estate has paid the IRS and state of Minnesota to date, the executor and its lawyers&a;nbsp;have already collected approximately&a;nbsp;$5.9 million in fees and expenses. And they&s;ve requested an additional&a;nbsp;$2.9 million in fees and expenses.&l;/p&g;
&l;p class=&q;speakable-paragraph&q;&g;And that doesn&s;t include fees for other lawyers, consultants, advisors, etc.&l;/p&g;
Sound unfair? Possibly so, but that&s;s what can happen when you&a;nbsp;die without a valid will. When you die&a;nbsp;intestate (without a will) a probate court takes over the handling of your estate. The probate court appoints a person or firm to handle&a;nbsp;any claims made against the estate, pay off all creditors, and distribute whatever assets remain under the laws of that state.
That means your estate will enter probate, which also happens if you die &l;em&g;with&l;/em&g; a valid will in place.
Probate is the legal process of transferring title of property and assets from the deceased to his or her beneficiaries. While it might seem confusing that dying with or without a will means your estate will enter probate, there is one major difference: if the probate court determines your will is valid and there are no objections to your will, then after creditors are paid the remaining assets are distributed based on the stipulations of your will.
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&l;div class=&q;article-body-image&q;&g;In short, die &l;em&g;with&l;/em&g; a Will and your wishes should be carried out. Die &l;em&g;without&l;/em&g; a will and state law takes over, regardless of what you might have intended.&l;/div&g;
And that&s;s one of the reasons why the probate process for&a;nbsp;Prince&s;s estate&a;nbsp;has been so long — and so&a;nbsp;expensive. And unfortunately for his heirs, those expenses are paid by the estate, which means less will be left for them.
In a perfect world, Prince should&a;nbsp;have at the very least created a valid will that established his intentions. Better yet, he should have left his assets in Trusts with the heirs he chose as&a;nbsp;beneficiaries.
Then his estate would have avoided probate — and in all likelihood his heirs would have received, if not all, at least some of their inheritance.