Prince’s possible heir

Music fans and pop culture enthusiasts in New York were likely shocked and saddened by the news of Prince’s death, and some have begun speculating about what will happen to the late singer’s estate while others still mourn the legendary star’s passing. If Prince has a will, it has not yet been made public knowledge. This means his sister looks like the mostly likely candidate to inherit his fortune.

Prince died at age 57 in Chanhassen, Minnesota, and he was found collapsed in an elevator by first-responders when they were called to his home since staffers were not successful at reaching him by phone. His home and Paisley Park Studios are located in Minnesota, and state intestacy law dictates that parents, grandparents and siblings inherit the estate of an unmarried person with no children who dies without a valid will . This would mean his 55-year-old sister inherits everything though theoretically someone could try to appeal the probate court decision.

Both of Prince’s parents are deceased and were divorced but had other children, so Prince has two remaining half-sisters and a half-brother from his father’s other marriage and two surviving half-brothers from his mother’s other marriage. Prince’s net worth was estimated to be around $300 million, but his music catalog as well as unreleased recordings could drive the value of his estate far higher.

In the past several years, there have been many reports of celebrities dying without a comprehensive estate plan in place. It would be somewhat surprising if Prince had no will at all, but if so, the administration of his estate could be quite protracted.

Sibling contentions over parental estate plans

A New York resident might seek information about a parent’s estate plan through legal avenues, but this could be extremely unproductive. A parent cannot be sued for simply creating an estate plan. In addition to increasing family tensions by suing a parent or their representative, this could provide information to others in the family about intentions with regard to legal battles after that parent expires. A parent is not legally bound to leave their estate to children or grandchildren. The only legal obligation is to a spouse.

A family member who believes that they have been unfairly omitted from a will or trust might contest the validity of the estate plan based on the possibility that a different sibling has exercised unfair influence over that parent during their life. Trust assets may be somewhat more protected because this type of estate plan typically avoids the subjection of included assets to probate. However, a legal challenge might still arise if there is an appearance of another sibling manipulating the situation.

A parent who clearly wants to leave a lesser amount of money to one or more children than to another might want to make an expression of these wishes and their reasoning clear in their end-of-life documents. A lawyer could also coordinate a meeting with all siblings to go over the plans in the presence of the parent to ensure that there is an understanding of these wishes and the reasoning behind them. If relationships are strained, however, this might not be feasible.

In ensuring that one’s wishes will be honored, it may be important to select an impartial trustee to oversee the distribution of assets. Also, reliable legal counsel could be important for ensuring that potential disputes over trust can be addressed clearly. Failure to legally execute any of the documents related to the matter could leave an estate otherwise vulnerable.

Tips for beneficiaries of a house

New York residents who have inherited a house that is far away from where they are currently living may be wondering what to do with the property. Whether the beneficiary decides to sell, rent or live in the house, there are several things to consider beforehand in order to avoid making mistakes and benefit from the inheritance.

At the outset, the executor will have to start the probate process. This must be done to get the house transferred into the beneficiary’s name.

While the process is ongoing, it is a good idea to find out about the expenses of the home such as taxes, insurance, cost of utilities and upkeep. If the house is secured by a mortgage, the executor will be able to provide details of its terms and conditions. Knowing these facts will help the heir decide whether to rent it out, sell it or live in it. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages.

A realtor or certified appraiser can ascertain the value of a home. Because houses are not easy assets to keep, most people who inherit them end up selling them, and many want to do so quickly because of the accumulation of various expenses. However, before the executor can sell it, the probate court must give its approval.

Individuals who inherit valuable property may benefit from the advice of an attorney who has experience in the details of estate administration. Because the probate process can be complicated, the attorney can provide guidance throughout and help to ensure that it is completed as quickly as possible.

Source: The Huffington Post, “5 Questions to Ask When Inheriting a House” , Jimmy Burgess, April 4, 2016

Executors and getting help from appraisers

When New Yorkers are appointed as executors for their parents’ estates, they may need to get the help of property appraisers. These professionals will determine the worth of different assets, some of which people may initially believe are not worth much but which turn out to have value.

Serving as an executor and trying to determine the value of various assets may be daunting. Appraisers may help their clients with determining what they should sell and what should be disposed of from the estates for which they are serving.

It is important for executors to make certain that the appraisers they choose are qualified to provide expert property appraisals. Several organizations, including some that are listed on the website for the Appraisal Foundation, can provide names of people who are qualified.

Executors may need to get the help of different types of professions in the probate of the will in which they have been named. They may want to speak with attorneys in order to get their recommendations for appraisers and others who may be able to provide the help that is needed. An attorney may also be able to provide advice regarding the various types of court filings that will need to be completed in the probate process. Attorneys might also help with making an inventory of the estate assets, notifying beneficiaries, notifying creditors and filing the required income and estate tax returns. The probate of a will can be a long and complicated process, and thus the assistance of an attorney who has experience with these types of matters may be advisable.