Prince’s Estate Was $300 Million … What Could Go Wrong?

by Estate Planning Attorney Nydia Menendez.

When rock and roll legend Prince Rogers Nelson, known simply as Prince, died suddenly in April of 2016, his fans were filled with questions. Today, years later, all his heirs are asking questions. But it’s no longer, “What happened?” It’s “What WILL happen” … to the estimated one to three hundred-million-dollar value of Prince’s Estate?

Prince died without an Estate Plan of any kind. Not even a Will. And Prince’s assets are confusing: cash, investments, royalties from music and merchandise, a Caribbean villa, and his mansion, which is now a Prince Museum. It has created one of the most complicated probate cases in the history of Minnesota.

The court decided that a group of six siblings and half siblings were the rightful heirs. But now there’s infighting among the six, which is no surprise given all that money, and two of them sold the majority of their potential stake to a company called Primary Wave. One of the two siblings died just hours later, leaving everything he owned to someone outside the family. His siblings are now suing to either get that deal revoked or get a piece of it, saying that this heir had a “failure of mind” when he signed the contract.

There are going to be a lot of losers before this is all sorted out, because Prince’s heirs – whoever they turn out to be – can’t get anything until the courts settle the Estate. And who are the winners? The consultants and attorneys of course! Their high fees could mean that a big part of Prince’s wealth ends up wasted, instead of benefiting the rightful heirs and beneficiaries.

A public court document revealed that in 2019, Comerica, the bank administering the Estate, got $1.5 million in fees. Comerica’s entertainment consultant got $2 million, and their law firm received $3.8 million. Also in 2019, the Estate paid $343,000 to attorneys representing the heirs. That’s eight million dollars in fees and costs in one year.

Then there’s the government. Taxes on Prince’s Estate could hit 40% for the federal government, and 16% to the state of Minnesota.

So, we can clearly see the lesson here: Plan ahead. I’m sure Prince would not have wanted his legacy as a music superstar to include the destruction of his family, and huge professional fees. A well-designed Estate Plan could have avoided this catastrophe.

Here at the Menéndez Law Firm, we do exactly that: craft Estate Plans to ensure that your wishes are fulfilled, and your loved ones are protected, so they don’t end up in court with the costly and exhausting probate process during a time when they are going through the grief and loss of a family member.

How Can You Get Started with Your Estate Plan?

If you want to learn more about how to plan for your future to make sure you remain in control of your decisions while leaving a lasting legacy for your family, we invite you to call our office at (954) 963-7220 to speak with a member of the Menéndez Law Firm. You may also want to watch the video series on our YouTube channel where we talk about Estate Planning in detail. Or if you would like to join us for the next live Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning webinar on Zoom you can register at no charge on our website

Nydia Menedez Nydia Menéndez
Estate Planning Attorney
Menéndez Law Firm
2699 Stirling Road, Suite B200
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
Tel.: (954) 963-7220
Fax:  (954) 963-7232
menedez law firm

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