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Estate planning questions after Prince's death

Florida music lovers were likely saddened to hear reports of the death of Prince on April 21. The 57-year-old singer was discovered unconscious in the elevator of his Minnesota home and declared dead shortly afterwards. There were no initial statements from Prince's representatives about what caused his death, but there have been reports that Prince was suffering from flu-like symptoms.

It is unclear who will inherit Prince's estate that is estimated to be worth $300 million, as his representatives have not yet issued any information about whether a valid will existed. Because Prince was unmarried when he died and had no living children or parents, his estate would likely pass to his siblings under the laws of intestacy.

Another estate planning issue that is of great interest to Prince fans is the fate of his music, especially the music that Prince left behind in 'The Vault" at his Minnesota compound. Not only did Prince protect a collection of unreleased music, he fought to retain control over the music that he released during his lifetime. Prince would not allow his music to be shared on YouTube or streamed on Spotify, and it's unclear if his music will be kept off of digital streaming services by whoever inherits it.

A person's will and other estate planning documents can communicate more than just who gets what. Some individuals may have specific instructions about what they would like to happen to their assets when they are gone. For example, musicians may leave behind recordings that they do not want to be shared on the Internet, or writers may have unfinished manuscripts that they do not want published. An attorney can assist clients in creating specific and binding instructions for the people who will inherit their assets.

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