Rather shocking news last week when it came out that Prince had passed away at the age of 57. The man was an artist at the true sense of the word. He not only wrote some of the greatest pop songs over the last 35 years, but could play over 20 instruments like a genius and was an innovator of both fashion and culture. He wasn’t only respected by people, but almost revered for the way he carried himself in a mysterious fashion. The below clip of him joining in with a group of famous musicians to play ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ at the 2004 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction honoring George Harrison couldn’t be more ‘Prince’. He comes in half way through the song and rips out a bombastic solo that goes on for minutes and minutes while the rest of the people on stage just stare at him wondering what is next. Then at the end, he simply throws his guitar up in the air and we never see where it lands, just one more mystery of the man.
While the man died far to young and was an incredible artist, it couldn’t be more disappointing when the news came out that he never took the time to put together a will. In my humble opinion, it is an extremely selfish act. While Prince didn’t have any children, he had two brothers and sister, and six half brothers and sisters. His estate is worth somewhere between $150M-$300M, but now it will all have to go into probate and who knows where those assets will go? The stories are coming out that people have been trying to get Prince to finalize a will or a trust for years, but he never actually pulled the trigger. Death is difficult for everyone. I have a good friend whose father passed away two weeks ago. The man had cancer, but passed away right after his first chemo treatment. He had previously told his family that all of his affairs were buttoned up. My friend not only had to deal with the sudden loss of her father, but now is dealing with no will or last testament, a $25K tax bill from the IRS, lines of credits at two banks, four cars, two boats, the list goes on and on. It breaks my heart to see her emotions change from horrific shock and grief to anger over the endless amount of work she is forced to undertake to get her father’s estate in order.
You don’t need to be one of the most famous musicians in history to put together a will or trust. While nobody wants to think about death, you are doing a true disservice to your family by not taking care of your affairs. It isn’t terribly time consuming either, you could go to a website like LegalZoom where the plans start at $69. There really aren’t too many excuses out there to not take ownership of your affairs, so your family isn’t dealing with it when you are gone. For someone like Prince who was an innovator in every sense of the word, it is a real shame that he couldn’t take the time to be sure his assets were protected for the next generation.