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Prince did not make a Will says Sister: Why you should consider making a Will
28 April 2016

Paul Lowery speaks to Bill Buckley on BBC Radio Berkshire on 27 April 2016.

Paul Lowery, partner at Boyes Turner LLP Solicitors, who specialises in Estate planning, Wills and Probate spoke to Bill Buckley of BBC Radio Berkshire about making a Will in light of reports yesterday that according to documents filed by Prince’s sister, it is believed that Prince did not have a Will and she has filed a request to appoint a special administrator to deal with his estate.

Prince died aged 57 leaving an estate thought to be worth around $150 million. It is understood that if he died without a Will, then the rules of the state (in this case, Minnesota) will dictate how his estate will be distributed. It is reported that this would result in it being shared between his sister (his only full sibling) and his five half siblings.

In what was an informative discussion the main points highlighted by Paul were:

  • High net worth individuals as well as people of ordinary wealth may never sign a Will for many reasons. They may see themselves as too busy to get round to it, they find it hard to decide what they want and they don’t like facing their own mortality. In some cases they may take advice and be advised to put a Will in place, but they do not always take the advice given. It was noted that in Prince’s case there were reports that he allegedly did not like signing documents due to some difficult situations he encountered early in his career.
  • The process of making a Will can seem daunting. Those seeking to make a Will should get specialist advice.  Your solicitor will be able to guide you through the process considering your circumstances, family situation and your wishes.
  • If you do not make a Will, then in England and Wales your estate will pass by the intestacy rules which are set out in statute. This means that your estate will not necessarily go to who you would wish it to. Making a Will ensures that your estate goes where you want it to.
  • An example of dying without a Will where a husband died leaving his wife and two children:
  • If his estate had a value below £250,000 then the surviving wife will get everything.
  • If his estate had been worth more than £250,000 then his wife would get all personal possessions and the first £250,000 (statutory legacy). The remainder would be split in half, with half gong to the wife and the other half going to the children at 18.
  • Having a Will allows you to choose executors, who are the people who will deal with your estate. Their duties include safeguarding and identifying assets, paying the deceased’s liabilities and then distributing the remaining estate to the beneficiaries. If you have no will again statutory rules dictate who will have the authority to take up that role i.e. you do not get to choose.
  • A Will should be reviewed regularly, for example every 5 years, but also on certain life events including for example following a marriage, divorce, birth of children, retirement and when considering buying or selling a business. This list is not exhaustive.
  • Changing a Will doesn’t have to be difficult but you should take specialist advice.

You can listen to Bill’s interview with Paul again on BBC iplayer http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03qd6mq

Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.

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