Prince's Estate: Still No Will; Here's What We Know Ahead of Hearing
Work to settle Prince's estate is moving forward, and a closed hearing is expected to be held this week to resolve an undisclosed dispute between the likely heirs and the trust company that's managing the estate. Court papers say only that the dispute involves "confidential business agreements."
Five months after the musician's death, here's a look at where things stand:
Still No Will
No will has surfaced since Prince died of an accidental painkiller overdose in April, so his sister, Tyka Nelson, and five half-siblings are likely to be declared the rightful heirs within the next few months. Carver County District Judge Kevin Eide has not made an official declaration or said when he will. He has rejected numerous claims by people who said they were Prince's children, wives and cousins, or that they otherwise deserved a piece his estate. The main question remaining is whether a woman and girl who claim to be Prince's niece and grandniece are entitled to shares. The judge plans to hold one or two hearings on that in November.
Who is Running the Show?
At Tyka Nelson's request, the court appointed Bremer Trust to serve as special administrator of the estate pending the appointment of an executor, which would happen after the court names the legal heirs. Tyka Nelson or someone else could be named the executor, or the heirs could choose to keep Bremer Trust in charge or bring in a different manager. Currently, Prince's entertainment assets are being managed by L. Londell McMillan, a longtime attorney, manager and friend of the artist, and entertainment industry executive Charles Koppelman.
A Sept. 12 deadline set by the judge for claims against the estate passed quietly. Most businesses that say they're owed money have been filing their claims directly with Bremer Trust, and those claims aren't public information. While people who claim to be Prince's heirs are supposed to have filed with the court by now, it's possible that more claims could trickle in. But the legal bar for getting taken seriously at this point is high.
The Oct. 13 tribute concert sanctioned by Prince's family sold out quickly when tickets went on sale last Monday. The lineup includes Stevie Wonder, Christina Aguilera, Chaka Khan and others. Prince's inner circle gets a nod with Morris Day & The Time, Judith Hill and Liv Warfield, The New Power Generation and 3rd Eye Girl. The family originally wanted to hold the concert at the new NFL stadium in Minneapolis, but after a long wait for details that frustrated fans across the country, the much smaller Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul was chosen as the venue.
The Paisley Park Museum
Paisley Park, the 65,000-square-foot studio complex in the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen where Prince lived and died, opens for tours Oct. 6. If that sounds reminiscent of Elvis Presley's Graceland, it should. Graceland Holdings is managing it. The tours will include the studios where Prince recorded, produced and mixed most of his biggest hits; the soundstage where he rehearsed for tours and hosted exclusive private concerts; and displays of artifacts including costumes, awards, instruments, and rare music and video recordings. The 70-minute tour costs $46 to $57.50, while the 100-minute VIP tour will cost $111.75. Tickets are available online only. A round building on the 9-acre grounds may be developed into a boutique hotel eventually.
The Taxman Cometh
No official valuation of the estate has surfaced since a Bremer Trust attorney estimated during a hearing in June that it could be worth $100 million to $300 million. But it's certain that attorneys, accountants and others are hard at work on that question. That's because estate taxes are expected to gobble up just over half its value. The Internal Revenue Service will be expecting a payment in January. Bremer Trust has been putting some of Prince's real estate holdings on the market. His recorded music shot to the top of the charts after he died, so it's a safe bet that a lot of those royalties will find their way into the public treasury.