Musician Prince, whose recorded songs such as “Purple Rain” and “Let’s Go Crazy,” was loved by many in Texas and across the U.S. Following his untimely death at age 57, Prince’s estate was not without its legal woes, as the musician did not have a will. One specific problem that comes with not having a will is the issue of who is to administer the decedent’s estate.
What does the executor of an estate do?
The executor of an estate has many responsibilities. They have to appoint a professional to assist in identifying the deceased’s assets and obtain a valuation on these assets. The executor also is responsible for hiring a professional to file the estate tax return and address any disputes with the Internal Revenue Service. The executor of an estate also decides who will be responsible for managing estate assets with the goal of maximizing their long-term value. Ultimately, the executor is responsible for ensuring the deceased’s wishes are honored.
When there is no executor
Prince’s estate highlights the problems that follow when the deceased does not have a will, and thus, did not name an executor to their estate. Prince passed away in Minnesota, and under state law, if a person passes away without appointing an executor, the court will appoint one. If a majority of the deceased heirs cannot agree on an executor, the court will appoint whoever they feel is best to take on this role. In Prince’s case, all heirs agreed to appoint a specific bank to serve as executor. This process took time, as Prince had many potential heirs. Moreover, the chosen bank ultimately resigned, leaving it up to the court to appoint a new executor. This was costly both in time and money.
In addition, Prince was the owner of many unique copyrighted assets. However, without a will, the executor to his estate had no way of knowing how he would like these assets managed following his death. The choices made by an executor may have been very different from what he would not have wanted, but without a will, we will never know.
Learn more about estate administration
As exemplified by Prince’s death, passing away without a will can leave your loved ones in a bind and could mean your estate is administered in a way you would not have approved of. It is better to be prepared by executing a will during your lifetime naming an executor to your estate. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Those who are interested in learning more about estate administration may find our firm’s website on this topic to be a useful resource.