*Civil Rights attorney Rhonda Wills, and star of the new WE network series “Sisters In Law,” has weighed in on the legal chaos that will likely come from Prince dying without a will in place. As the late icon’s sister suggests, his estate will be determined by a Minnesota probate court, which will result in a hefty tax bill. Not to mention the “millions” it will cost to hire an administrator (or a team of administrators) to oversee the estate.
“When you die without a will, there are no protections put in place to protect your estate, with respect to estate taxes,” Wills explained to EUR/Electronic Urban Report. “Sister in Law” highlights a group of black female attorneys in Texas, and Wills specializes in class action lawsuits. She has recovered more than $75 million fighting for the rights of everyday Americans against corporate giants and insurance companies.
“Typically, someone as wealthy as Prince would’ve established some sort of trust, and a lot of his assets and funds would’ve gone into a trust,” she sad of the music icon. “Trusts are devised to oftentimes protect the assets against being fully taxed. Our tax laws provide some protection but only if certain types of trusts are established, and I understand that didn’t happen here. That means that the entrée estate is going to be subject to the maximum tax penalties under federal law, and those tax penalties will be very severe. Could be 40 upwards to 50% of the estate.”
Rhonda says her appearance on “Sisters In Law” has allowed her the “opportunity to do more legal commentary and political commentary now that I’ve been on the show, and I enjoy that,” she said. “So in addition to practicing law, I love being a commentator.”
Which is why we asked her to help fans better understand what happens to the estate of music pioneers such Prince when they die without leaving a will.
“It’s going to be up to the court to appoint an administrator to manager the estate, and if that administrator is challenged by the heirs, then that administrator may be replaced. So you may see a succession of administrators, and all of these people are going to be billing the estate,” Wills explained. “There may even be a succession of teams of administrators. So the administration costs, as well as the taxes on the estate, will be staggering. His siblings will have to pay almost half of whatever they are entitled to receive to the state in taxes,” she added.
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As Wills explains, Prince’s known siblings, including his half siblings, are entitled to equal shares of his estate. The problem comes in once folks start coming out of the “woodwork” demanding a slice of the pie.
“When a person dies without a will, they are what’s called “intestate.” That basically means that common-law is going to dictate how their assets are going to be distributed because they left no will, no written document expressing how they wanted their assets to be divided,” she explained. “So this means you’d have to look at whose left in the bloodline and depending on how close they are in relation to the person that died, that determines whether they’re going to inherit, and what shares they’re going to inherit. In Prince’s case, his parents are deceased, he had no wife and he has no known children. When icons of this magnitude die, their estates just increase drastically in value. So you’re talking about a staggering estate. People start to come out of the woodwork. I believe it is going to be extremely chaotic for years to come.”
Rhonda said she would not be surprised if random people staring “coming out of the woodwork claiming they are long-lost half-sibling of Prince, and “Because both of his parents are deceased, it’s going to be difficult to challenge those types of claims.”
“Also, it wouldn’t surpass me if people start saying, ’I’m Prince’s long-lost child.’… ’I’m the illegitimate child that Prince didn’t know about.’ Those are going to be claims that are going to have to be dealt with. So, because Prince died without a will, it just basically leaves this huge fortune open to being attacked by all kinds of people that can start making claims on the estate. So it may be chaotic for some time to come.”
Wills has very strong opinions on civil law versus criminal law, which causes a lot of friction among the women – many of whom are criminal attorneys. As her bio notes, she’s “proud of the fact that she is self-made and sees nothing wrong with flaunting her wealth.”
A woman of her power and influence, makes you wonder why she signed up to do a reality show?
“Before doing this project, I didn’t watch a lot of reality television, other than an episode or two of real housewives. It just seemed to me that, what was lacking on television was a reality show that featured professional women,” said Rhonda. “Women who have careers, women who are well-educated and are balancing careers and families, and who are more reflective of women in the real world,” she added, “I felt it was important for this generation of young women to see a reality show that would show women, especially black women who are professionals, who are successful in their own right, not just because they’re married to someone who is fabulous but because they are fabulous and successful for using their brain power.”
(In the clip above) Katrina Pierson makes a guest appearance in the reality series, and you may know her as the tea party activist who once called a disabled veteran “deformed” and has a long history of controversial statements about President Obama. She regularly appears on cable news on behalf of the Trump campaign.
“Katrina Pearson and I have very different political views, completely opposite political views. And frankly, she has said some pretty polarizing things. She’s said some pretty, nasty things that I frankly consider to be hate speech, in reference to minorities, women, immigrants and even people who have physical disabilities,” said Wills.
Pierson was hired by the Trump campaign in November, but in last July, while taping a scene for “Sisters In Law,” she attends a fundraiser as a guest of one of the cast members. Shortly after arriving, things take a turn to the dramatic. Pierson and Wills get into a heated argument which results in Rhonda showing Katrina the door (see clip above). It was a moment that left many cast members stunned, with some accusing Rhonda of being “discriminatory” and overreacting.
“i don’t believe that I overrated. I think that, when someone shows up at your home, and they express views that you find to be unacceptable, and it’s your home, your event, you have the right to ask them to leave. So that’s exactly what I did. She’s someone I’ve found to be intolerable, and once she started in on her rhetoric, it was time for her to go.”
Wills says fans will have to watch the series to better understand why she calls Pierson a “hypocrite” with a criminal past, a past as a welfare recipient and her curious connection to Ted Cruz.
“Katrina Pearson is basically being used as a mouthpiece for the Trump campaign because as a black woman, she can voice a lot of hateful, bigoted views and she’s not going to be called to the carpet like other republicans who are overwhelmingly white and male would be,” Rhonda asserted. “Katrina Pearson is basically being used as this mouthpiece for the republican party to spew a lot of hate and bigotry. And she gets a pass on it because she’s a black woman and that’s why she’s been put in that position.
I investigate witnesses, I investigate companies. I investigate thoroughly and I thoroughly invested her, and my investigation uncovered some really unsettling facts about her. The things that I’ve discovered about her, they come out on the show. I would encourage your readers to tune into “Sisters In Law” if they want to get the tea on Katrina Pearson.”
Is Rhonda Wills concerned at all with how the negative dynamic with Pierson will affect her brand?
“I am a fierce fighter and when I think someone is wrong, I’m going to call them to the carpet on it. I make no apologies for that, and I will continue to do that. I did investigate Katrina Pearson and that’s what I do in all of my cases. I’ve gotten a lot of fan support both in kicking her out of my house and in calling her to the carpet on some hypocritical things in her past. Then she turns around and says these really hateful remarks about blacks and women and minorities and people being on welfare and people taking advantage of the system, people begin criminals. Given the fact that she has all of these really suspect things in her background, it just shows her to be a hypocrite. And the fan response has been overwhelming positive.”
Get caught up on past episodes of “Sisters In Law” here.