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Chayet & Danzo LLC

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When does an estate need a new administrator?

| Aug 11, 2017 | Estate Administration & Probate |

Usually, it is only required when there are serious disagreements, liability issues or litigation. In your will, making a wise decision about who to name as personal representative may avoid the issue altogether. It is truly one of the benefits of a will, you get to decide who has the necessary skills to administer your estate according to your wishes.

Sit down with this trusted person during the estate planning process and make sure that they understand and agree to take on the responsibilities. This issue of multiple administrators has come up in Prince’s lengthy probate case a year after his tragic, untimely death.

What happens when there is no will?

It is hard to believe, but Prince did not leave a will. Probably he had similar reasons to those many of us have as we leave estate planning and the associated difficult decisions on the back burner. He was in his 50s, in relatively good health and focused on music and business.

Because he passed away intestate, or without a will, he did not have input into who would administer his estate. He had not appointed a personal representative, so his sister initially asked a judge to appoint Bremer Trust as a special administrator.

A third special administrator over conflicts of interest

Bremer and court-appointed entertainment advisors negotiated a $31 million deal related to licensing rights. Recently, a judge voided the deal as questions surfaced about who actually owns what rights.

A subsequent deal is not likely to bring in the same sum. Liability for the botched deal will be an issue. Bremer and a second administrator Comerica Bank & Trust had signed a “common interest agreement” that does not allow Comerica to pursue adverse claims against Bremer. Comerica has now asked for another special administrator, who could bring any adverse claims.

In estate administration, there can be numerous disagreements between heirs or potential heirs. These can turn into protracted, costly litigation that takes years to resolve and destroys relationships in the process. Strategies exist to minimize these risks, but they require advance planning.

Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Protect your loved with a comprehensive estate plan tailored to your personal situation.

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