VanAntwerp Attorneys, LLP
Phone: 606-618-0698

A “Prince-ly” estate without a plan

Depending on who you ask, the estate of Minnesota music icon Prince is currently either in limbo or pure chaos. The continuing disputes are becoming an ongoing lesson on the importance of proactive legal steps to protect your assets.

Step number one: Have an estate plan in place before it’s too late.

Regardless of money is in the bank and the value of assets, wills, trusts and other mechanisms are important to ensure that your wishes are carried out. Regardless of largesse or a lack of funds, loved ones are entitled to certainty during uncertain times.

Throughout his life, the Minnesota music icon built up an impressive estate that is valued between $100 million and $300 million before taxes. Yet, Prince died in April 2016 without a will, leaving one sister and five half-siblings to fight it out.

Bremer Trust was appointed special administrator to secure streaming and merchandising deals to meet a $12 million estate tax payment deadline. However, disputes with the family ended both the deals and the association with the administrator. Comerica replaced Bremer and selected Spotify executive Troy Carter to oversee the archives and future deals.

Their first challenge did not take long.

Deliverance, an EP that featured Prince’s music co-written and produced with engineer Ian Boxill was set to debut. Boxill felt Prince would have wanted it released and recorded. Comerica had a different take and filed a restraining order to stop sales. Currently, the remaining EPs and CDs are sitting unsold in a warehouse. A trial date was set, but the judge ordered Prince’s estate to post a $1 million bond in advance.

Prince’s fans do have a place to take solace. Paisley Park is now a museum that proudly displays his “Purple Rain” motorcycle, stage clothes and recording studios and stage clothes.

However, with that tribute comes even more turmoil. Brianna Nelson claims that Comerica Bank was failing to honor a consulting contract for her to provide memorabilia to the museum that would pay her $25,000 up front and the same amount annually for an undetermined time.

During his life and career, Prince created musical masterpieces that broke new ground in content and length. Those compositions once went on and on beyond the standard few minutes most songs enjoy.

Sadly, the battle over his assets is experiencing the same fate. The seemingly endless battle continues, putting a bright spotlight on the challenges loved ones will face without a well-prepared and enforceable estate plan.

If you have questions on the estate planning process, contact VanAntwerp Attorneys, LLP, at 606-618-0698.

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