Emery Johnson Astills wills and probate expert Jane Hinds reflects on an untimely death and the consequences for Prince’s close family of him failing to make a will
Even a global superstar may die without having put his affairs in order and, in particular, without making a will. Prince, we are told in the press today, did not have a will and his sister has already, within a week of his death, applied to be appointed executor of his estate and for his fortune to be split between his siblings. Had he made a will he would have appointed executors to manage his assets after his death. He would also have indicated how he wanted his wealth to be distributed.
In this country, when a person dies without a will the rules of intestacy apply and the estate is distributed in accordance with those rules, which does not always give the expected result. For instance, if a person leaves a husband/wife and children, the first £250,000 currently goes to the spouse together with half of the remaining estate. The other half goes to the children. If you have no close relatives your estate could go to distant relatives with whom you have never had contact.
It is advisable to make a will, appoint executors and state what should happen to your assets. It does not necessarily need to be a complicated document but will be one that can give peace of mind – whether by ensuring that you have done everything you can to look after your loved ones after your death or that the charities close to your heart will benefit.