The legendary artist, Prince, died almost three and a half years ago. Unsurprisingly to those of us in this line of work, the dragging on of the probate process to administer his estate is par for the meandering probate course. But things got more complicated recently when one of Prince’s heirs his half-brother, Alfred Jackson, passed away. Mr. Jackson was declared by the court to be one of Prince’s legal heirs (as were all of Prince’s half-siblings).
Where does this leave the probate process? Since he died after Prince, Alfred’s share of Prince’s estate will be pass to Alfred’s heirs. Hopefully, Alfred had an estate plan in place. If not, Alfred’s estate will also need to go through the probate process. So there could be more delays involved.
The unfortunate reality of probate means that the banks, attorneys, and other consultants have been paid their on-going fees but reportedly none of the beneficiaries have received distributions from the estate. Prince’s estate is complex and there are a number of non-probate related legal issues (copyrights, publication deals, royalties) that must be dealt with after his passing in order to make the estate productive. The question of whether Prince would have wanted any of this is sadly moot, since he left no estate plan of any kind in place.
Probate is a lengthy, expensive, and often cumbersome court process. If you think only heirs of rock stars have to wait years for distributions from probate, you would be wrong. Cutbacks in court staffing and the increased volume of probate petitions throughout California have resulted in postponed hearings, court staff turnover, and significant delays in completing the probate process and distributions of estates.
So the Prince estate drags on and his heirs themselves pass away, we continue to mourn not just for the loss of a legendary artist, but also for his family, who continue to walk slowly down the meandering course that is probate. The doves continue to cry and so do all of Prince’s fans and family.
Don’t let this happen to your loved ones. Talk to us today about a comprehensive estate plan to transfer your assets to your heirs quickly, efficiently, and bypassing the dreaded probate process.
Photo: penner [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]