Nevada fans of singer Prince might have heard that he died without a valid estate plan, but if so, he is not the only celebrity to do so. Michael Jackson’s family did not find his will until several years had passed. Among other complications, the IRS argues that his estate is now worth $434 million and not the $2,105 claimed at the time of his death.
The substantial estate of singer Amy Winehouse went to her parents because she did not leave a will. Nothing was left for her ex-husband. Bob Marley’s family fought for three decades over his estate. Under Jamaican law, since Marley did not leave a will, his wife and 11 children were each supposed to receive a portion of his estate. The family had to struggle to get the rights to his image and name.
Jimi Hendrix is another performer whose death left family fighting over the estate for decades. His father died before the issue was resolved, and the most recent dispute was settled out of court in 2015. The wife of Sonny Bono had to go through probate to get control of his estate. After singer Kurt Cobain’s death, most of his publishing rights went to his wife. His daughter got a third of the multi-million dollar estate in 2010 when she turned 18.
In many cases, if people do think about estate planning, they think of it as something they need to deal with when they get older. However, it is important for all adults to make an estate plan. Even if people have relatively few assets, they may want to create a power of attorney naming a trusted individual to make financial and health care decisions in the event of the principal’s subsequent incapacity.