Famous People Who Died Without a Will

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There is never an ideal or perfect time to think about your death, but planning for your death by talking to a wills and estate attorney and creating a will is crucial. You might not think you have a lot of material items, but families in their grief can fight over who was supposed to get what heirloom or inheritance.

According to Forbes in a survey of those who do not have a will in place 60% indicated they simply haven’t gotten around to making one yet while 27% don’t feel that it’s urgent. Another survey conducted found that 64% of Americans don’t have a will. That percentage is higher for younger Americans, aged 45-54, than for older Americans, aged 55-64. But death can be unpredictable and come at any age.

Prince Rogers Nelson

(Better known as Prince) was 57 years old when he passed away. His death made headlines when it was made known that he did not leave behind a will since his property estate is worth over 300 million dollars.

By having a will, you can minimize your estate taxes for whomever you entrust your home and belongs to. The value of what you give away to family members or charity will reduce the value of your estate when it’s time to pay estate taxes.

While Prince’s family seem civil to each other during this tragic and anguish filled time, not all families are the same.

Jimi Hendrix

Died of an unfortunate overdose in 1970 and he too did not create a will. For decades after his death, members of his family participated in legal fights over his 80 million estate. Recently in 2009, his siblings went to court over the rights to the musician’s iconic image.

Aretha Franklin

The Queen of Soul and first women in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, left no will when she passed away in her home in Detroit, Michigan on August 16, 2018, at the age of 76. Her four sons filed a document at the Oakland County Probate Court, calling themselves interested parties concerning her massive estate, estimated to be worth $80 million. Michigan law dictates the estate of an unmarried person must be divided equally between their children. Her decision to leave out an official will may have song collaborators and distant relatives fighting for a piece of the inheritance.

Abraham Lincoln

Did not have a will in place when he was assassinated in 1865. Following his unexpected death, the family enlisted Justice David Davis of the United States Supreme Court to take care of his estate. Davis went on to petition the court to declare that the President’s $85,000 estate be divided by his wife and two living children.

A will contains more than just your assets and who shall receive what. Guardianship information for minor children and pets, selection of an executor (person that will manage your affairs after death) and burial or cremation instructions are included in the will.

To avoid the added stress on families during an already emotional time, it may be wise to meet with an estate planning lawyer to help you draw up a basic estate plan at the minimum, before it’s too late.

Our knowledgeable attorneys represent clients in both New York and New Jersey, including all 5 boroughs of NYC (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island), Long Island (both Nassau and Suffolk county), Westchester, Orange and Putnam counties as well as North and Central Jersey.

Our lawyers look forward to helping you. Please give us a call today at (800) 517-5240 and allow us to serve you.

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