The Panama Papers leak has led President Obama to urge Congress to take action now against corruption and illegal financial activity. This recent, large-scale information leak has made it impossible for the government to ignore the less positive aspect of shell companies, which in theory protect the market from speculative price gouging when companies prepare to make big moves on the market, but which also have been used to hide the illegal activities of less honest beneficiaries.
The death of music icon Prince on April 21, 2016, presents an example for estates of all sizes of the privacy an estate plan can provide. Last week, Prince's sister, Tyka Nelson, filed a petition with the Carver County, Minnesota probate court stating Prince did not have estate planning documents to direct the management and disposition of his estate. As a result, the administration of his estate will be a matter of public record, easily accessed by the media. Reporters will be able to find a list of all of Prince's assets, the values of such, the names of beneficiaries inheriting, as well as exactly how much and which assets they will receive. This is an unfortunate posthumous development, considering just how private the artist appeared to be in life.