Two months ago Prince Rogers Nelson (aka pop icon Prince) died reportedly without a will. The singer was not married, and left behind no surviving children or parents. As a result, under Minnesota intestate succession laws, his sister and half siblings stand to inherit Prince’s millions. However, dividing up the estate is proving to be a very contentious process.
Since his death, several individuals have come forward claiming to be related to Prince in hopes of cashing out. According to USA Today, Carver County District Judge Kevin Eide, said on Monday that he is “in no hurry to decide who can get a piece of the superstar’s fortune.”
During the probate process, court appointed special administrator Bremer Trust will need to figure out the value of assets in the probate estate. With no estate plan, Prince’s estate faces a substantial tax burden at both the federal and state level. After taxes are paid, the estimated 300 million dollar estate will likely be reduced by about 150 million. Estimates of what the estate is worth have varied widely, particularly because a large portion of the assets are items such as memorabilia and residuals from record sales which do not have a fixed value. Because the singer stands to make substantial post-mortem earnings, it will take a small army of CPAs and attorneys to file the hefty estate taxes due in January 2017. Bremer Trust now has the daunting task of making sure there are enough liquid assets to pay the estate taxes while continuing to act in the best interest of the heirs.
What we’ve seen so far is likely just the tip of the iceberg in what will be a long and costly battle over Prince’s fortune, and one that could have easily been avoided.