When it comes to contested probate matters, even superstars like Prince can leave behind a complex, tangled estate that drags out for years before resolution.

When the world lost international recording artist Prince on April 21, fans across the globe began a period of mourning while his potential heirs scrambled to make their case for inheritance. Prince’s estate is estimated to be worth in the $250 million range, which would make for a convoluted probate process on its own. However, it is appearing more and more likely that Prince died intestate (without a will) — which virtually guarantees a protracted contested probate situation.

What happens now?

First of all, it’s important to note that JT Legal Group is a California law firm that only handles probate law in this state. However, it’s worth taking a look at the situation as it plays out in Minnesota, since there are similarities to contested probate situations you might encounter in any state.

As of now, the lawyers for Prince’s estate are finishing up what appears to be a fruitless search for a will. After the inquiry closes, the court will hear claims to inheritance as late as September 12. This gives you an idea of how slow-moving the probate process generally is — particularly in contested probate matters, actual distribution can feel like a far-off dream for the interested parties.

Heirs come out of the woodwork

If there is indeed no will to be found, that means that “interested parties” can submit claims to the court that allege entitlement to a piece of Prince’s fortune. Although Prince’s situation is unique because of his iconic status as well as the vast amounts of money involved, at JT Legal Group we have seen a similar scenario play out on a smaller scale time and time again.

When long-lost “heirs” or estranged distant family members catch a whiff of an intestate probate situation, it’s amazing how quickly they will come out of the woodwork to submit a claim. And while some of those claims may in fact be legitimate, many are not — and it’s the court’s job to decide which is which. As you can imagine, this is not a simple process, and may take years to sift through.

At the time of this posting, there were no less than 29 potential heirs who had submitted paperwork to the court alleging a claim. Imagine being a legitimate heir to this estate and having to fight to keep estranged, distant family members from taking a share of the estate! That very dynamic is what makes contested probate such a difficult situation for all parties involved. However, if you find yourself in a similar position, you can reduce your stress and increase your chances of success greatly by enlisting the help of a veteran qualified probate attorney such as the ones at JT Legal Group!

A no cost consultation with a licensed and experienced California probate attorney regarding your unique and personal probate situation is available by calling:

1-888-LAW-3111 Monday-Friday, 8am to 6pm.

Jack Ter-Saakyan, Esq.

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