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By Jason Carrozza

Hi Everyone,

Happy Wednesday!!!

In this edition of “If you don’t choose, the state chooses for you” we’re going to examine the aftermath of Prince’s death.

As many of you have likely heard by now, this famous pop icon died without a will or a trust. He has no living parents, no spouse, and no children. His sister commenced probate proceedings in Minnesota with the Carver County District Court, listing three half-brothers and two half-sisters as his other heirs. The kicker: Minnesota treats half-siblings the same as full-blooded siblings, potentially lengthening this already messy situation.

According to tax records, in 2005, Prince earned an estimated $49.7 million. His Paisley Park property is assessed at over $7 million, and since his death he has sold 650,000 albums and 2.8 million tracks in the United States alone. In addition, Prince has an entire “vault” of music filled with unreleased recordings. This “vault” is now property of the estate. You can imagine how difficult it will be for the Court to determine the estate’s net value and how to “fairly” divide such.

The music, the properties, the royalties…it all amounts to a royal nightmare. Somebody who went through great lengths to protect his music rights with the law over-looked a fundamental element, his own estate!

The takeaway? Plan your estate now! Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Make your decisions when you’re healthy enough to do so and have the final say over where your property goes, not the probate court.

Until next time,

About the Author
Jason M. Carrozza is a partner and founder of Family Legal Partners, P.C., previously owning Carrozza Law Office, P.C., which focused on estate planning, probate administration, and business formation. He was recognized as a Massachusetts Rising Star by New England Super Lawyers and Boston Magazine in 2014, 2015, and 2016, an honor given to no more than 5% of attorneys in the state. Graduating magna cum laude from New England Law and ranked 3rd in his class, Jason completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Tampa. He gained experience in civil litigation, divorce, corporate, and insurance defense law firms before opening his practice in 2004. Jason is admitted to practice before the Massachusetts Courts, is a trained family law mediator, and a member of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation. He has volunteered for pro bono panels with Senior Partners For Justice, South Middlesex Legal Services, and the New Center for Legal Advocacy. Dedicated to his community, he has served in various leadership roles including vice president of the Bellingham Business Association and Master of Excelsior Lodge of Massachusetts Freemasons. He teaches Estate Planning Basics at the Tri County Continuing Adult Education program and speaks at estate planning seminars throughout the year. An avid baseball fan and history enthusiast, Jason enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with his family. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Katrina, and their children, Zachary and Madelyn.