The onset of what could be a years-long legal battle over Prince’s estate began Monday as lawyers for Prince‘s six siblings and half-siblings, along with representation of others who believe they deserve a stake in the late singer’s estate, congregated at a brief court hearing outside Minneapolis.
Prince left no will to his estate at the time of his April 21st death, which might create an environment of legal grappling that in turn could prevent the release of any posthumous material from the singer’s stacked musical vaults. However, on Monday, the siblings were “all on the same page,” a lawyer for Prince’s half-brother Alfred Jackson told the court, the Star Tribune reports.
In the immediate aftermath of Prince’s death, Tyka Nelson, Prince’s sister and the sibling most closely tied to his business affairs, and Carver County District Court judge Kevin Eide named Bremer Trust as temporary special administrator of Prince’s estate to safeguard his holdings, including his musical vaults. According to ABC News, the vaults had to be drilled open, as only Prince knew the safe’s combination at the time of his death.
Monday’s hearing confirmed Bremer Trust’s role as special administrator, with all but one sibling (John Nelson) approving their involvement. While Judge Eide also confirmed that no will had been found, he stressed that doesn’t necessarily mean that no will exists, and that Bremer Trust would continue searching for one. In lieu of finding a will, under Minnesota law, his six siblings (including half-siblings) will divvy up his estate as Prince had no direct descendants.
However, Eide added that creditors, including the IRS and tax agencies, as well as other outside parties, could still stake their claim to Prince’s estate at a later date, barring the discovery of his will.
In the decades before his death, Prince reacquired ownership of his master recordings and owned royalties on his immense catalog, which Reuters estimates could be worth $500 million alone. The actual valuation of Prince’s estate is closer to $100 million.