I know what you're thinking: another article on Prince and how he didn't have a will? Yes, another article on Prince and how he didn't have a will. This time, however, we look at 4 lessons that can be learned from Prince's death that can save your family from a similar result.
1. Death is absolute, but sometimes also unexpected.
When you're young, death isn't something that's normally top-of-mind. Obviously everyone dies at some point, but most people will live long lives before they pass. Prince's passing was unexpected and at a young age (57). Life is filled with unexpected events. Part of estate planning is planning for the unexpected. It's better to have a plan set up well before you need it, rather than the other way around.
2. Don't just assume people have their affairs in order.
People were shocked to learn that Prince had failed to establish and estate plan prior to his death. He was very financially successful and had a reputation for being hands-on in his prior legal affairs. It seems, then, that an estate plan would've been a no-brainier. Not so much. It's important to have these sorts of conversations with your family, whether you have a plan or not. Inquire as to your parents, siblings, children's "exit strategies." Maybe that conversation will be the final push needed to get them on board.
3. The government loves when you don't plan.
Most people don't have a $250 million estate, but everyone with probatable assets will have a probate fee of 0.4% due at the end of their probate. For Prince's estate, over half of its value will go to the government (US and Minnesota). If you don't implement probate avoidance planning and tax planning, a good chunk of your hard-earned assets will go to the government.
4. Your family would prefer that you plan.
Failing to plan is essentially leaving a big mess for your family to clean up after you're gone. They have to run around and figure out what you owned, what debts you had outstanding, who your potential beneficiaries are, and where all your accounts are located. All of this on top of the fact that you just passed away. It's like being the captain of a sinking ship - adding so much stress to an already stressful and emotional time. Getting your affairs in order, including organizing your assets and accounts in a ledger of some sort, will give your family some relief during such a trying time.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Prince planned to fail. But, his death can be an example for you. Learn from his mistakes.