Skip to main content

Prince Estate Drags On


It has been over two years since music star Prince died, and his estate has incurred millions in costs without any distribution to his heirs. Prince died in April of 2016 at age 57 from an accidental drug overdose. He did not have a will, and the litigation over his estate has created significant expense and delays.

Estate Heirs: Since there was no will, the probate court in Prince’s home state of Minnesota determined his heirs. More than 45 people came forward claiming to be his wife, children, siblings or other relatives. Some were ruled out through DNA testing, others had their claims rejected as a matter of law. The probate court eventually named Prince’s full sister and his five half siblings to be his only six heirs.

Administrator’s Fees: Comerica Bank & Trust was appointed as the estate administrator. Comerica and its outside law firm have received over $5.9 million in fees so far and have a request pending for $2.9 million more in fees. The heirs have been unsuccessful so far in their attempts to have the fees reduced and the administrator removed. The estate has an estimated value between $100 and $300 million, about half of which is expected to be consumed by state and federal taxes.

Recommendation: All clients, particularly those with estates of significant size, should have well designed estate plans to reduce unnecessary estate litigation, fees and taxes.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Probate Dispute News: Aretha Franklin’s Holographic Will, by Steve Spitzer

Aretha Franklin’s legendary singing career spanned five-plus decades. The “Queen of Soul” made the most appearances on the Billboard charts of any female performer ever. She died from pancreatic cancer in August of 2018 at age 76.
1. Probate CaseIt was initially thought that Franklin died without a will. A niece, Sabrina Owens, was appointed as the administrator of the estate, which is pending in a Detroit suburb. Earlier this month, Owens was searching Franklin’s home and discovered three handwritten wills.
Two wills from 2010 were found inside a locked cabinet. One from 2014 was found in a spiral bound notebook under the cushions of a couch. The wills are difficult to read, are disorganized and look like rough drafts. Words are crossed out and are written in the margins. The primary beneficiaries are Franklin’s four sons.
2. Disputed IssuesThe four sons have been unable to reach an agreement about the validity of the wills. Owens has filed a petition to have the court rule on the valid…

Things to Know Before Hiring an Attorney

With so many attorneys out there, selecting the right one can feel overwhelming. If you select the wrong lawyer for your case the results can be utterly detrimental. So it’s important to do your homework before finally settling on an attorney. Here are some important questions to ask before agreeing to hire any lawyer: Does the lawyer have experience in the type of law your case is in?Almost every lawyer has his or her area(s) of specialty. An attorney with decades of business litigation experience is the wrong person to hire for your DUI case. You will want to make sure you find a lawyer who understands your case, your needs as a client and has expertise in the legal matter you’re dealing with. Who is the lawyer’s typical client?This is something important to consider. Let’s say you are an individual with a particular legal problem, but the attorney you're meeting with represents only corporations, this will not be the attorney best suited for you and your case. What alternatives to …

New Texas Power of Attorney Act

Texas recently adopted much of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, resulting in a significant overhaul of the prior Texas power of attorney statutes. A few of the more significant changes are:
Standing to Sue for POA Abuse: As discussed in the October 2016 edition of this newsletter, standing to sue a fiduciary for misuse of a power of attorney was previously limited. The new act considerably broadens the persons who have standing to sue.
Increasing POA Acceptance: POAs are often ineffective due to the reluctance of third parties to accept and rely on them. The new act requires third parties to provide a specific, written reason for the refusal to accept the POA, and creates a limited right to seek court intervention to force the acceptance of a POA.
Estate Planning Powers: If desired by the principal creating the POA, “hot powers” can be included that allow the agent holding the POA to engage in estate planning activity for the principal such as creating trusts, making gifts, and mod…