Lawyers charged with untangling the multi-million dollar estate of music superstar Prince, who died with no known will, head to court on Monday for the start of what could be a years-long dispute over his fortune.
Six siblings or half-siblings of Prince, 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 the hearing gets under way 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 over $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 Judge Eide will hear any objections on Monday, Minnesota courts spokesman Kyle Christopherson said.
Creditors and inheritors also can file claims against the estate, he said. “We’re not sure who’s coming to sort of stake a claim,” Christopherson said.
Born Prince Rogers Nelson, Prince, whose hits included “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry,” 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 owned royalties from his more than 30 albums, regained ownership of his master recordings, and 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 and studio complex called Paisley Park in a Minneapolis suburb. The cause of death remains undetermined.
Prescription opioid medication was found on him, CNN and other media reported, citing law enforcement sources.
Police have said they found no signs of suicide or obvious trauma in Prince’s death.
(Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)