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Prince in death teaches why a will is necessary

Prince performs in his debut movie

Prince performs in his debut movie "Purple Rain," the 1984 rock opera about a young man's search for artistic accomplishment and love. Credit: Warner Brothers

Prince taught us a lot about life, and in death, yet another lesson — why a will is necessary.

“If you don’t have a will, the state decides who gets your money, who will be in charge of your estate, and takes as much tax as it can since no effort was made to protect it,” says Lawrence Davidow, an elder care attorney with Davidow, Davidow, Siegel and Stern in Islandia.

“The entire process will take much longer, be very expensive, cause undue stress, and most likely not be distributed as Prince would have liked,” he said.

Wills aren’t just for the wealthy. “Every competent adult should execute a last will and testament that determines how your estate will be distributed upon your death,” says Jennifer Cona, an estate planning attorney with Genser Dubow Genser & Cona in Melville.

Maybe you’re thinking of a DIY will. “An online will is a fantastic alternative to costly lawyer-made wills,” says Monica Mizzi, editor of, which offers free, legally binding living wills.

But proceed cautiously: Wills shouldn’t be boiler plate. And while it’s probably better to have any will rather than none, this is one time you might want an attorney.

“In New York State, wills must be executed in a specific way, if not correct, it can be challenged and may not do what you expect,” warns Mark Palermo, a business school lecturer at Stony Brook University.

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