Prince’s Estate Slowly Rolls Forward

Minnesota Judge Shows No Urgency To The Detriment Of The Estate

Carver County District Judge Kevin Eide has announced that there will be no quick decisions in who will be inheriting from the late superstar according to USA Today. The probate judge in charge of the legal proceedings surrounding Prince’s estate has further indicated that due to the complexity of the case, the multiple claims and questions of parentage, the judge may forward his eventual decision to an appellate court of immediate review, a process that will only drag out the proceedings even longer.

The judge’s decision to take it slow comes despite urgings by the claimants to come to a speedy resolution. The claimants have good reason for hoping to close out the probate estate and settling matters: every day that the estate is in probate, the estate is losing money. While the probate proceedings are going on, Prince’s assets are effectively frozen. For an estate as big as Prince’s that includes quite a lot.

Prince’s estate has been valued from somewhere in between $100 million and $500 million. This includes the residuals to Prince’s music catalogue, his Minnesota home and his investments.  Most valuable in his estate though is Prince’s name, image and likeness. Many experts suspect that the rights to these could make Prince America’s top earning deceased celebrity.

But none of this matters while the estate is still in probate. Until it is decided who will be taking control of these intellectual rights, no money is being earned from them. The potential for Prince to become America’s top earning deceased celebrity will not become a reality for now. The administrator overseeing the late pop star’s assets currently has limited authority to hire on experts to manage Prince’s music holdings and preserve the current estate assets.

Meanwhile the estate has received numerous offers for the rights to produce film and TV movies based on Prince’s life, as well as investment offers to turn Prince’s Minnesota home into a museum dedicated to his life. These offers come as a looming state and federal estate taxes are due as early as January. The taxes are expected to be up to 57% of the total valuation of Prince’s estate.

Prince’s estate serves as another example of the importance of avoiding probate, especially if business assets are involved. Due to the numerous complications, multiple claimants and sheer size of the estate, it is likely to be months before a final decision is made as to who the appropriate heirs are and even then those decisions are likely to be appealed and dragged out even longer. No one wins in a situation like this, least of all the legacy that Prince leaves behind.

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