What happens when you don’t prepare a will, and how much will it cost?

Prince performs during the halftime show at Super Bowl XLI at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Feb. 4, 2007. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

By now, much of the world knows that Prince died at the age of 57, leaving behind an estate worth millions of dollars.

But who did he leave it behind for? It’s a question that will have to be answered in court, because Prince had no will.

“You would think he would have gotten advice or somebody would have encouraged him to do these documents, but again, sometimes people feel that they are going to live forever,” said Diane Chong with Central Pacific Bank.

We may never know why he chose not to have a will.

“Many people feel, they sort of feel jinxed by creating a will because maybe something is going to happen to them, but if you don’t create a will, besides not having control, you’re really kind of creating a mess for the people that are left behind,” Chong said.

When a person dies without a will or what attorneys refer to as “intestate,” his or her property and assets are distributed according to Hawaii law.

“If you have a spouse, it’s going to go 100-percent to your spouse. If you have spouse and children, it will be divided that way, so really it’s divided among your closest relatives,” Chong said.

But is that what you want?

That’s the most important question and what should drive people to get it done. Even if you’re not wealthy, you have assets that you want to designate to certain people. Your wishes should be carried out.

It’s not about money or age, although you will have to spend some money to get one.

Depending on the complexity of the person, an estate planning package that consists of a will, trust, general power of attorney and medical directives may cost you anywhere from $1,500 to more than $5,000.

“There is going to be some cost to creating a will or any type of trust document, but that cost is probably minor in comparison to how much your estate would have to pay if they went to probate court,” Chong said.

As we’re seeing in the case of Prince, it’s the source of turbulence and turmoil when it should be a time of peace.

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