A certain level of chaos followed Prince throughout his storied career.
Last-minute invitations announcing a last minute, late night concert would see his loyal legion of fans rushing to his famed Paisley Park studios.
A dispute in the nineties with record label Warner Bros. saw the Minnesota music icon forsake his royal name for a symbol and performing with the word “slave” emblazoned on his forehead.
Even in the weeks leading up to the accidental painkiller overdose that proved fatal, a plane with Prince aboard was forced to land due to an emergency medical situation.
Now, in death, Prince leaves behind a new level of chaos by not leaving behind a plan for an estate valued up to $300 million dollars. One sister, five half-siblings, attorneys and executors are continuing to sort out the chaotic mess one year later.
It started with the continuous debunking of dubious claims made by those who claimed biological ties to Prince. Winnowing the list down to six has not ended what a judge called “personal and corporate mayhem” highlighted by inter-family squabbles.
Bremer Trust was appointed as a special administrator, only to be replaced by Comerica after the surviving siblings claimed that Bremer botched an October tribute concert and misappropriated funds meant for them.
The chaos shows no signs of slowing. Prince’s legal problems, even in death, are emblematic of the disputes that arise without even the simplest of wills. He is not the first celebrity to keep his wishes a mystery, nor will he be the last to have family members fighting over everything from the smallest trinket to a lucrative licensing deal.
Whether a will exists or wishes are left unknown, estate planning and probate combine legal complexities and emotionally charged issues. Grieving family members are rarely at their best immediately following a tragic loss, let alone the months, years and decades it can take to find closure.
Proactive steps in planning an estate may not stop disputes within a family. However, it can go a long way to give loved ones a certain peace of mind amidst the chaos.