Prince has, understandably, made the headlines with his tragic death. The story continues in his absence with the issue of his will, or lack of one.
The Power of The State
Essentially, not having a will means that your wishes for what happens to your wealth and assets have not been recorded. If you die in these circumstances, the law of Intestacy comes into effect.
“The state will decide what happens next”, explains Paul Dodsworth of Wilmslow-based Estate Planning Solutions. “What the state decides won’t be aligned with your wishes”.
Under the Law of Intestacy and in the absence of a written will, the state tries to balance the rights of the surviving spouse and children. However, in these circumstances someone is likely to become disadvantaged, in terms of their actual relationship with the deceased person when they were alive.
“There are also issues around family protection”, Paul Points out. “You can end up with situations where children are taken into care because no provision for this has been made for them in a will”.
In the case of Prince and his missing will, he has various family members now tied up in the legal administrative process. This is likely to take some time as it progresses through the US legal system. “In the absence of a will, this could take years to unravel,” Paul Comments.
The Real Reasons for Will Writing
The popular view of writing a will is that it is all about considering your own demise and putting your affairs in order. However, as Paul points out, this is a very limited perspective. “Estate planning is about looking after your family”, he explains. “It is really family wealth planning. It is something people can sometimes be reluctant to engage with, but it might help to see it in this light”.
Paul sees his work as an extension of the kind of financial planning people engage in routinely, but a specialist branch of it.
“Managing your wealth and looking after your family’s future are not things you want to leave to the discretion of the state”, Paul concludes. “Just as you would expect to have control of your own finances, so you should use estate planning as an opportunity to safeguard your wealth and assets for the future. You may not be a millionaire musician, but the issues are the same”.
If you would like to discuss safeguarding you wealth and assets, please call Estate Planning Solutions on 0800 781 6658 or visit estplan.co.uk