Perhaps the most surprising fact reported following the death of musician Prince Rogers Nelson was that the celebrity died without a Last Will and Testament. As mentioned in a previous blog article, Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson filed an Emergency Petition in a Minnesota court seeking the appointment of a Special Administrator. The circumstances surrounding the celebrity’s death is not uncommon, as 55 percent of Americans do not have a will or an estate plan in place, according to LexisNexis.
In New York State, a will is a written document that must contain a signature at the end witnessed by two people. The purpose of a will is to name beneficiaries who will receive property after your death. A will is revocable and can be destroyed by a physical act such as burning or tearing, by operation of law such as divorce, by presumption (for example, after your death the will cannot be found), or by a subsequent will. Accordingly, a will may be revised many times during one’s life. In a will, an executor for the estate and guardians for children may be named, and instructions for wishes to be carried out may be listed. Upon death, a will goes through the probate process and becomes a public document.