Prince Estate Battle Drags On, Enriching Lawyers and IRS
Nearly two years after Prince's death, the complicated fight to determine the beneficiaries of his estate — and its value — still has no end in sight. And every day it continues, an army of lawyers continues to reap fees from coffers that the artist's heirs fear will be empty by the time it's all over.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that none of Prince's heirs have collected anything from the estate in the months since his death — mainly because no one can until the executor, Comerica Bank and Trust, settles on a value amount with the Internal Revenue Service. Although preliminary estimates suggested Prince was worth roughly $200 million at his time of death, the article notes that "the actual value remains one of the biggest secrets in the case" — and has also likely changed since it was first reported.
Prince's heirs, meanwhile, have waged their own battles against one another, but they obviously share a common interest in the outcome of the estate — and alarm over the mounting legal fees incurred by the ongoing investigation.
According to a letter written to the court by several of the ostensible beneficiaries, "There is legitimate concern that at the end of the Estate's administration there will be little, if anything left to pass on to the Heirs." The Star Tribune notes that roughly $5.9 million is already owed to the executor's attorneys, as well as nearly $3 million in fees additional expenses — sums that don't take into account all the monies owed to the various other advisers and attorneys working on behalf of interests associated with the estate.
A number of contested deals are mentioned in the span of the report, the outcomes for all of which are thoroughly unclear. What will happen with the vast library of music Prince left behind obviously remains to be seen, as does who will benefit from its sale. No matter what, the entire saga serves as a sobering reminder of the importance of getting your financial affairs in order before you die — even if your holdings don't come anywhere near the value of Prince's.