The recent death of musical artist Prince has had a major impact on the entertainment industry. Shortly after his death, his sister Tyka Nelson filed documents with the Carver County probate court indicating that Prince died intestate, which means he left no will behind. This will significantly complicate the division of his estate and will likely delay any distribution of his assets to his heirs. Prince is not the only famous person to have failed to plan for his eventual demise. Here are some other well-known individuals who failed to leave a will upon their deaths:
- Howard Hughes: Reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes amassed a large sum of money during his lifetime. After his death, however, the lack of a will allowed numerous claimants to complicate matters and to delay the disbursement of his considerable assets for years.
- Abraham Lincoln: As a lawyer, Abraham Lincoln should have been aware of the importance of drawing up a will. His probate proceedings were handled by Supreme Court Justice David Davis and went relatively smoothly given the circumstances.
- Tupac Shakur: After the rapper’s untimely death in 1996, Tupac Shakur’s mother Afeni was appointed the administrator of his estate. Because he died without leaving a will, Afeni Shakur was left with a host of expenses and little or no resources to draw on when settling her son’s financial accounts.
In nearly every case, failure to draw up and file a will causes delays in the distribution of assets and prevents individuals from controlling what happens to their estate after their deaths.
What Is a Will?
A will is a legal document that outlines the planned distribution of property after the death of the owner. In the state of Florida, certain legal requirements must be met to ensure the validity of the will:
- The maker must be 18 years of age or older.
- He or she must be of sound mind at the time the will is drawn up and signed.
- It must be in written form and must be witnessed and notarized according to Florida state regulations.
- The will must also be proved valid and accepted by the probate court.
A will drawn up and executed in accordance with Florida law can provide significant benefits for individuals and families, including the following:
- Increased control over the distribution of assets to friends and family members
- Greater choice in the selection of the executor or personal representative who administers the will
- The ability to set up trusts and make gifts to individuals or organizations
- Improved control over tax liability issues
- A say in child custody and guardianship decisions
Making a will can provide added control over all these issues and may even allow heirs to sell real estate property and other assets to ensure adequate funds for daily living and unexpected expenses as they arise.
What Happens When There Is No Will?
The distribution of estate property for individuals who die intestate is controlled by the court system and generally follows fixed rules regarding the order of inheritance as outlined in the Florida inheritance statute. A personal representative will be appointed by the court to oversee this determination and to manage the probate process under court supervision.
The legal team at Boynton Law can help you set up a valid will to ensure that your family and loved ones are cared for after you pass on. Our Wills, Trusts & Probate Law professionals can provide you with the most accurate and appropriate advice to ensure that your assets are protected and that your estate is distributed according to your wishes. Don’t make the same mistake these famous people did. Give us a call today at 561-880-0338.