We were all speechless and left in complete shock when the passing of Prince was announced. With little to no indication that anything was wrong and him having recently successful tour stops in every city, he visited, his death was not expected at all. The shock continued when we all learned that Prince, who is reportedly worth over $300 million dollars, died without a will! Then a few weeks later Snoop Dogg announces that he also does not have a will and does not care what happens to his money after he is gone (but he also has a wife and kids, therefore they will get it all!)
This prompted many conversations about what happens to your money and belongings when you are gone and who in fact does need a will? I mean if these multi-millionaires are walking around without wills, what should us thousandaires do?
Here is the lowdown on what happens when you don’t have a will and how to determine if you need one:
The state decides who gets your money.
No will, no say. That’s pretty much what it balls down to. Without having a will in place and you do not have a spouse or children, you are giving the state the right to say what happens to your money and belongings. In Prince’s case, since he did not have a spouse or any living children. His sister requested to open probate, which is the process to begin divvying up Prince’s things. She requested to become the administrator of his estate and named herself and Prince’s other half-sibling beneficiaries. Some of which he has not spoken to in years. Once this process begins they will split up his current assets and will also be in line for any further earnings….so basically they are all set financially, even the ones he did not talk to (we will never know if this was his wishes or not).
No control over everything you worked for.
Some people say that having a will is like being in control from the grave. This is not of interest to some, however, others would like to have some say as to what happens to the wealth that you have worked your entire life to accumulate. When you don’t have a will in place you give up complete control of your assets.
Your estate will pay more in taxes.
When a loved one passes away, there is an inheritance tax that needs to be paid on any money and/or property that is inherited. When you do not have a will in place, this tax can be higher, thus leaving your loved ones with less of an inheritance as each individual is taxed separately. If you have a spouse, in most states your spouse is exempt from this tax, this exemption can also apply to your children and other dependents as well.
So, back to the big question. Do you need a will? I think everyone should have a will as it makes things easier on your loved ones and you can be sure that everything you worked for is left to the way you want.
If you do not have a will and are ready to get one, download the free will-prep checklist and you can have a will done for less $80 with LegalZoom. Trust me, it’s better to have something than nothing.