Question 1: Who receives Amy Winehouse’s millions?
Because Ms. Winehouse did not leave behind a Will, her parents will receive her entire estate. Though the late singer left behind a brother and an ex-husband whom she apparently still had good relations with, even if she wanted these two people to receive any of her estate, it will not happen because she did not have a Will. The United Kingdom’s laws state that whenever someone dies without a Will, known as dying intestate, that person’s property passes to their closest relatives. In this case, it is Ms. Winehouse’s parents. All states in the USA have similar laws.
Question 2: Did she own anything else that doesn’t pass through probate?
The probate process applies only to specific types of property. Anything Ms. Winehouse owned in her name alone will have to go through probate before her parents can become the legal owners of it. If, for example, Ms. Winehouse had established a trust (unlikely), owned property jointly with someone else, or had property that named a beneficiary upon her death, none of this property would go through probate. However, even if she had created a will and chosen who she wanted to receive her property, all that property would have to pass through probate before the new owners could take possession.
Question 3: What if she wanted to avoid probate? Could she have done anything?
Yes. Avoiding probate is not very difficult as long as you create an estate plan beforehand. Ms. Winehouse represents a large majority of Americans, especially younger Americans, who do not have any type of estate plan whatsoever. Because of this, she had effectively no choice in how her property passed and that her estate would be public information because it would have to go through probate.
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