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Mitzi Parker: Prince dies without a will

According to a recent USA Today article, the famous singer, song writer, and performer, Prince, died intestate. Intestate means he died without a will. It is estimated that Prince’s estate is worth approximately $300 million. Your estate may not be worth as much as Prince’s, but you probably still need a will.
Some Americans think that only wealthy individuals need wills, but the truth is a will should be created by anyone who meets the required age limit, owns assets, and wants to determine who receives their assets after their death.  Dying without a valid will can cause emotional and financial headaches by those left behind after your death regardless of the value of your estate, so it is important to create a will and other important estate planning documents.
A will allows you to decide, before your death, who you want to receive your assets upon your death. It also allows you to name an executor, the person who manages and oversees the distribution of your assets. A will should meet the legal requirements in the state in which you reside.
When a person dies intestate (without a valid will) state intestate laws govern how and to whom property is distributed. You can also die intestate when you have a written will as it can be invalid if you got married, had a child, or adopted a child, but didn’t update your will after these life changing circumstances. When a person dies intestate, it usually takes longer to settle their estate. You will do your family a huge favor by creating a will and updating it when needed.
Fighting over an estate not only pulls families apart, it also has potential to waste a large amount of the assets in your estate on legal fees. Do your loved ones a favor, and plan properly to avoid family disagreements. Don’t make any more excuses about creating a will. While there are online resources for creating wills, it is best to get a lawyer to write one for you to avoid any pitfalls.
Source: Puente, M. (2016, April 26). Prince died without a will, sister says.  USA Today. Retrieved May 2, 2016 from http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2016/04/26/prince-had-no-will-sister-says/83545078/.

Mitzi Parker is Sumter County agent/Consumer and Family Sciences, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. Contact her at 229-924-4476.