Now that the 2018 Grammy awards are behind us, we can all look forward to another year of amazing music by artists we idolized, including the deceased ones. Musical circles are a-twitter with the possibility of a new Prince album to drop sometime soon. The music from Prince’s apparently substantial vault of unreleased music has been described as ‘mind blowing’ by those of have heard previews.
While this may be good news for music lovers and Prince fans everywhere (including your favorite estate planning attorneys at Norton Basu – hear our version of Prince fandom on our podcast), this is a problematic situation from an estate planning perspective. As you know by now, The Artist Formerly Alive As Prince died without even a hint of an estate plan. His estate is being probated in Minnesota, where he resided.
The probate process was and continues to be messy. Dozens of people came forward claiming to be Prince’s offspring. This didn’t go well for the pretenders to the throne. None of them were found to be Prince’s children. This left Prince’s siblings to inherit his estate equally. But the court found that none of the siblings was up to managing such a complex estate. Outside parties were appointed to manage and advise the estate.
Now these estate advisors and administrators are preparing to release some of Prince’s music from his vault. This seems like a legally sound decision; but other factors are at play here. Prince went out of his way to buy the rights of his music back from the record label giants and had not released or even talked of releasing any of the music he recorded and placed in his vault. It seems highly unlikely that he wanted these tracks to be released. And his wishes could have been easily followed except for one minor detail – he didn’t write them down! With no will and no trust outlining his wishes, Prince’s musical gems will see the light of a day which he probably had no desire to see.
Your wishes can be carried out (assuming these wishes are reasonable and feasible) after you’re gone. But you have to – let’s say it all together – write them down. Create a will. Even better, create a trust and keep your wishes private. Call us. We can help. And you won’t have to worry about post-mortem heart break.