SASKATOON – Questions continue to surface about what will happen to the vast estate owned by musician Prince. Last week, his death came as a shock followed by the surprise that he had no known will.
He died far too young at the age of 57 and by not leaving his wishes behind, what happens next could get very messy in the months to come.
It’s a valuable lesson for all of us says one Saskatoon attorney, who urges everyone to have a plan in place.
“One of the most significant reasons is that it brings some certainty for family and loved ones left behind at a time of a lot of grief and chaos,” said Connie den Hollander, a partner at Knott den Hollander.
When we hit the streets of Saskatoon to find out how many people have a will and some peace of mind, only one individual said he did. He got it 15 years ago and has updated it since.
“I own a business and we have four kids, seven grandchildren and yes, we have a will.”
Still many people hadn’t found the will to get a will citing that they hadn’t even thought about it based on their age.
In fact it’s believed 88 per cent of people in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties haven’t made any plans for after they’re gone. Experts say mortality may not be top of mind at this age and that nearly half of all adults don’t have a will.
“Everyone over the age of 18 should have a will for sure and even if you’re under the age of 18 and you’re married or in the military you can make a will.”
An executor needs to be named to manage everything from the moment you die.
“There’s so many things that need to be taken care of and the executor is the person you’re putting in charge of all of that,” said den Hollander.
She says the cost of a will can be the same as a few nights out on the town, roughly $500 for a couple as long as nothing is too complex.
“When people come to see lawyers, I know they’re sometimes a little stressed, a little anxious and they find the thought of death overwhelming and the thought of figuring out what to do a bit overwhelming,” added den Hollander.
“When they leave they say ‘That was so much easier than I thought and I’m so glad that I got it done.'”
There are “Do It Yourself – Will Kits” but den Hollander says they often don’t apply to a person’s situation and that legal lingo can be confusing. So you might be better off to spend the money and save yourself the headache.
“I’ve seen wills declared invalid because they haven’t been signed properly.”
Contrary to urban myth, the government doesn’t get it all if you die without a will in Saskatchewan.
“What happens is the legislation provides which family members do get it and in what amounts,” said den Hollander.
“So it would be typically if you have a spouse to get a portion, for children to get a portion, if you don’t have a spouse or children or they look to other family members and they decided which of those family members get what share.”
By having a will, you choose who gets what and the amount.