No will found for Prince as court opens probate process
Lawyers charged with untangling the multimillion-dollar estate of music superstar Prince said on Monday they still have not located a will that could avert a years-long dispute over his fortune but have not stopped looking.
Six siblings or half-siblings of Prince, who was found dead at age 57 at his home in suburban Minneapolis on April 21, were listed as heirs in court documents filed in Carver County District Court in Chaska, Minnesota, where a brief hearing was held before Judge Kevin Eide.
The exact value of Prince’s estate has not yet been disclosed but his music catalog alone has been estimated at more than $500 million.
Bremer Trust, National Association, a bank where Prince conducted business for years, could play a key role as a special administrator to safeguard his fortune. The bank was appointed at the request of Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson, and Eide reconfirmed that appointment during the hearing.
Natasha Robertson, an attorney for Bremer Trust, said the search for a will continues. Eide said the court would not find at this time that there is no will – only that one has not been found.
Creditors and inheritors can file claims against the estate.
Prince, whose full name was Prince Rogers Nelson, was married and divorced twice. He had no living children. Under Minnesota law, his assets are likely to be split evenly among the siblings, tax attorney Steve Hopkins said.
Hopkins said the bigger the estate, the greater the likelihood there will be a dispute by claimants that could take years to settle.
Prince’s affairs seems destined for tax court, much like superstar Michael Jackson’s estate, which is in a high priced skirmish with the Internal Revenue Service over the value of Jackson’s name and image, Forbes reported.
Prince, whose hits included “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry,” owned royalties from his more than 30 albums and had regained ownership of his master recordings. He was said to have a cache of unheard recordings, including an album cut with late jazz trumpet great Miles Davis.
It could be weeks before results are released from an autopsy on Prince, whose body was found in an elevator at his home-studio complex called Paisley Park in a Minneapolis suburb. The cause of death remains undetermined.
Prescription opioid medication was found on him, media reported, citing law enforcement sources. Police have said they found no signs of suicide or obvious trauma in Prince’s death.
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