It has been five years since the death of Prince, and his estate is still unsettled. Nevertheless, a new album of his music was released this summer, and an exhibition of hundreds of pairs of his custom shoes opened at Paisley Park. Would the notoriously particular and private musician appreciate these post-death actions? We don’t know because he did not have an estate plan.
Prince Died With No Estate Plan In Place
When Prince accidentally overdosed on fentanyl at his beloved Paisley Park he left a void in the music world. Over his career, he sold over 150 million records, penned well over 500 songs, and was known to play every instrument featured on some of his albums. He was also a groundbreaking advocate for artist rights. You may recall the period in the 1990s when Prince announced that he would no longer go by the name Prince, but rather by a “Love Symbol” in response to a dispute with his record label.
Being prolific and protective means that there is a mysterious vault of previously unreleased recordings — both finished and not. What Prince intended to do with the music in the vault is unclear. He left no instructions. He also failed to execute an estate plan, which would give one or more people of his choosing the right to determine what happens to his music.
Uncertainty Is Expensive
Instead, his six heirs (finally narrowed down to Tyka Nelson, his full sister, and his half-siblings, Norrine Nelson, Sharon Nelson, John Nelson, Alfred Jackson and Omarr Baker) must agree on how the estate should move forward. This summer they have authorized a new exhibit at his home-turned-museum, and released “Welcome 2 America,” an album Prince recorded in 2010 and then mysteriously shelved. It is unclear if Prince would have agreed to these plans.
It is also not apparent that Prince’s heirs all agree with what is happening to his estate. The number of filings in the case indicates there is still no single plan for what to do with his assets, which are estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Each day the uncertainty drags on, that fortune dwindles as the heirs, their lawyers, and the numerous consultants hired to value, advise, and administer his estate argue with one another.
Preserving Your Wealth. Protecting Your Loved Ones.
Even if you are not an iconic musician worth millions of dollars, your loved ones may be in the same situation as Prince’s are if you do not make an estate plan. The best way to prevent a bitter estate battle, and avoid having your loved ones take actions in your name that you may not agree with, is to put an estate plan into place.
Palmer & Slay’s experienced estate planning attorneys can help you craft an estate plan that meets your unique needs. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation.