Deceased Famous Persons Who Had No Will When They Died

When a death occurs without a will established, any assets that were owned by you will become intestate. The probate court will then decide the heirs, which can become a long process. When no will exists it also does not guarantee any specific estate beneficiary. Plus, with no will, the inheriting family may end up fighting over assets, which they feel belongs to them.

This is the case for the deceased famous persons listed below, who all died with no written will. However, if the famous persons had a will, then the probate process would be even more easier and the estate divided more fairly and how the deceased wished.

  1. Prince

While alive, Prince definitely made a name for himself, but that all changed in 2016 when he suddenly died. After passing, it seemed like a lot more fans and family made their presence known. With more family and alleged ex-wives coming forward, it seemed like the estate would be in probate for years to come. Much of the estate was made up of music that was unreleased, vehicles, art, property rights, gold, and many other pieces of memorabilia. At one point, the probate judge even mentioned the estate as being mayhem.

Following a two-year legal battle, his half-siblings and sister were named as heirs. Although the heirs are named, the legal battle had only ended in recent months.

  1. Steve McNair

For Steve McNair, he had a nice football career with the NFL until it came to a tragic end after a mistress murdered him. At the time of his killing, there was no will established to name who would receive his assets. However, the court decided that his wife and four kids would be named as direct heirs.

Under probate law in Tennessee, any surviving spouse is entitled to one-third and the surviving children will receive the remaining assets. However, it remains unclear of McNair´s true intentions. This may be especially true when it concerns his business ventures.

  1. Howard Hughes

It is strange to think that a very rich person would neglect something such as a will. However, that is what Howard Hughes did after he passed away. Of course, since he had no immediate family or anyone to pass down his estate to, he may not have seen a point.

With that said, most of the Howard Hughes estate were given to his Howard Hughes Medical Institute, although there were many relatives who eventually obtained payments, which may not have occurred if a will was written.

  1. Aretha Franklin

Almost a year after her passing, it was believed that Aretha Franklin had a will that she had written. Although they were believed to be a will, they were written poorly and hard to distinguish what was written. Although Aretha was known to make corrections, having one alleged will with cross outs minimized the belief that a will existed.

  1. Amy Winehouse

Like Prince, Amy Winehouse also passed too soon and without a will to pass on her estate. Eventually though, Amy´s mother and father obtained the estate and created a foundation in her name to assist others experiencing drug and alcohol issues.


Having a will can truly make all of the difference when it comes to estate planning. Not only that, but being famous does not mean a will is not necessary either. So if you have an estate that you want to pass down to family, call us today so we can write up your will so that your needs are met.

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