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A year after Prince died without a will, disputes continue

The beginning of April often brings a rash of celebrity death hoaxes. Many people have fallen for them, only to feel foolish when discovering the joke was on them. However, few people in Florida and across the world were laughing one year ago when it was announced that superstar Prince had died of an overdose in his home. Despite the tragic circumstances surrounding his death, the story that continues to intrigue his fans is the fact that Prince died without a will.

The six men and women who won court battles to claim a portion of the pop star's multi-million-dollar estate have battled for almost a year over the fate of the singer's fortune. Since Prince left no estate plan to indicate his wishes for the distribution and use of his estate, the heirs have relied on court decisions and the advice of teams of people to manage the estate. The heirs are apparently deeply divided about decisions that are being made regarding unreleased music of the icon.

Recently, advisors for the estate negotiated three agreements with Universal Music Group for the rights to music Prince never released. The advisors, who represent only three of the heirs, reportedly earned $3 million each from the agreements. The other two heirs have now filed a lawsuit against the advisors because they believe the men were seeking their own financial gain rather than the best interests of the estate.

Of course, few people have countless millions in assets to protect and divide. Nevertheless, even a small estate left unprepared can easily create similar tensions among heirs. Those in Florida who want to avoid leaving their loved ones with the burden of a lengthy, possibly hostile probate consult an attorney to create a will and discuss other options for their estate plan.

Source: familybusinessmagazine.com, "Deals made by Prince's estate deepen divide among heirs", March 29, 2017

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