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Have many celebrities died without a will?

Most people -- even those who are considered famous -- do not want to think about their deaths. However, when someone famous passes away and there is no will, the battle for his or her estate is played out in the public's eye. In addition, the cases can often be complex due to royalties and other ongoing or complicated assets.

Here are five celebrities who died without having a will in place and left their family members and the courts to decide asset distribution:

-- Steve McNair: The National Football League quarterback was worth approximately $20 million upon his death. While his wife and four children were beneficiaries after probate, his mother did not receive anything.

-- Abraham Lincoln: The 16th president of the United States did not have a will when he was murdering by John Wilkes Booth. It is estimated that his net worth was approximately $110, 975 at his death. Two surviving sons and his wife were his beneficiaries.

-- Sonny Bono: The entertainer-turned-politician's net worth was estimated to be about $15 million when he died. His wife and children were the beneficiaries of his estate, except for one son who was born out of wedlock. A claim was filed, but the man eventually dropped it. Bono's ex-wife Cher believed Universal Music Group owed both his heirs and her unpaid royalties. She filed a lawsuit seeking payment.

-- Amy Winehouse: The singer and songwriter's estate was worth an estimated $4.7 million when she passed away. Her parents were her beneficiaries. Her ex-husband received nothing.

-- Prince: The recently departed singer and songwriter is believed to have been worth about $300 when he died. He wasn't married when he passed and both of his parents are gone, as well. He didn't have any children, but has a sister and several half-siblings. The case will likely be tied up in court for a long time.

While you may not have the assets of those listed above, it is important to make sure you have a will and other estate planning documents in place. You never know what the future will hold, and estate planning is the best way to ensure your wishes are carried out upon your demise.

Source: Bankrate, "If Prince really left no will, he joins these 4 other celebrities who died intestate," Judy Martel, accessed July 22, 2016

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