Adding to this is the fact that, to my understanding, Prince had no legal spouse and no children at the time he died (although I've read reports, unsubstantiated at the time I write this, that Prince has a "love child" from many years ago, and if this proves true, it will probably throw the entire estate into even more disarray). Assuming there is no spouse or children, this means that Prince’s estate will go, in its entirety, to Prince’s closest living blood relations, which appear to be one full-blood sister and a number of half-blood siblings (under Minnesota law, as well as New York law and the laws of most if not all other states, half siblings are treated the same for inheritance purposes as full-blood siblings).
Who knows who Prince would have wanted to administer or benefit from his estate, or how he would have wanted it to happen, but since he died without a will or other estate planning instrument like a revocable living trust, the state of Minnesota essentially wrote Prince's will for him in the form of its intestacy laws, which rigidly dictate who, and in what order, surviving family or others can administer a person's estate and benefit from it. All states have their own intestacy laws.
What struck me most about the first article I read about Prince's estate was a comment by Prince’s long-time attorney that Prince thought he would live forever, and could not face the fact of his own mortality, which is likely why he never set up a will or trust. This really hit home for me, because while I understand that basic--and totally understandable--human nature prevents many of us from facing the inevitable, I always try to impress upon people that setting up a will is more about protecting your assets and your loved ones than it is about “planning your own death.” I think that’s the greatest takeaway for me (and hopefully for you) from this sad tale. Perhaps no one and no argument could have persuaded Prince to set up estate planning documents, but had someone tried, and succeeded, in convincing him that even “basic” planning could protect his assets and his loved ones far better doing nothing could, I’m sure those now left behind to tend to the mess would have been spared a great deal of expense, time, and heartache.