Prince’s legal misstep illustrates importance of will, estate planning


Prince was an artist with flare, style and a whole lot of funk, and at one time was simply known by a symbol.

He will also go down in history as a musical genius who died without a known will.

“They find it really unusual that he would not have a will or a trust, because during his lifetime, he had very much control over his records, his music, how he changed his name, so he was familiar with attorneys,” said Diane Chong, Central Pacific Bank.

But Prince is not alone. According to the American Bar Association, 55 percent of all Americans die without a will or any estate planning. Other surveys say the number is closer to 65 percent.

“It’s kind of surprising the number of people that will plan a vacation or plan things that just happen on a daily basis, but not take that extra step to do these estate planning documents, which again, it’s for your benefit, but it’s also for the benefit of the people you’re leaving behind,” Chong said.

Prince’s very public legal misstep is providing a learning opportunity for all of us, including kupuna, to get our legal matters in order.

“Many think that okay, I don’t have enough money, or I’m not old enough to have a will or a trust, but that’s really not true, because if you have children, a will is that document where you name the guardian, and I really think that a lot of people would like to want to make that choice, especially for their children,” Chong said.

Financial and legal experts say don’t leave it up to chance or the courts.

“Rather than leaving it up to chance, creating your own will where you’re making the decisions is probably the best for everyone,” Chong said.

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