Pop star Prince passed away recently at the age of 57 years old. Now his sister has filed papers saying that Prince didn't have a will, but left a fortune of 300 million dollars. Apparently he did not leave a spouse or children. This is usually the point at which far-flung relatives of all sorts begin to emerge from the woodwork, though I haven't heard of them yet.
To read an article with more detail about this, click here.
Whenever someone dies without a will but has assets, even though the assets may not be $300 million, the courts will appoint someone to administer those assets. This can only happen if someone - a family member, a potential beneficiary, or even a creditor - comes forward and offers to do the job, as the court won't go looking for a candidate.
The question of who gets the assets depends on the law of where the deceased lived. In Canada, the laws governing intestacy (i.e. dying without a will) are provincial rather than federal.
It's really not that unusual for a person at age 57 not to have a will. Most people think of a will as something they'll do when they get older. However, as the story of Prince illustrates, we don't always get the chance to do the things we put off.
The attached photo of Prince is from www.laineygossip.com.