It looks like determining Prince’s heirs might have been the easy part.
The six people who stand to inherit the multimillion dollar estate are divided over how to proceed, months after they were identified as heirs and nearly a year after the late megastar’s body was found at his Paisley Park complex.
Recent filings in Carver County District Court show disagreements between the heirs about how to use money from the estate — estimated at $100 million to $300 million before taxes and expenses — and who should benefit.
Prince died April 21 of an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl. His heirs are his sister Tyka Nelson and half-siblings Sharon, Norrine and John Nelson, Omarr Baker and Alfred Jackson.
The heirs have filed attorney’s fees totaling more than $4 million, ranging from about $340,000 to the firm representing Sharon, Norrine and John Nelson, to more than $1.6 million for the two lawyers representing Alfred Jackson, according to court documents.
Sharon, Norrine and John Nelson filed memorandums arguing against paying the attorneys’ fees of the other three heirs, saying they include unnecessary expenses.
Meanwhile, Tyka Nelson and Baker have objected to paying more than $700,000 in attorney’s fees and costs to Stinson Leonard Street, the firm that represented Bremer Trust in its former role as special administrator. Nelson and Baker, through their attorneys, argued that Stinson failed to prove the fees — which represent just a month of work — benefited the estate.
Additionally, Nelson and Baker argued, “Stinson has been less than forthcoming” with the heirs since Prince’s death, “and caused confusion among various parties.”
In late January, Carver County Judge Kevin Eide appointed Comerica Bank and Trust as personal representative for the estate, and the bank took over Bremer’s duties with the heirs’ unanimous support. But court documents show that’s caused problems, too.
In a sworn statement March 10, Sharon Nelson said Comerica hasn’t made good on promises to work with the heirs to ensure Prince’s legacy and distribute the estate quickly.
At a Feb. 28 meeting with five of the heirs, Nelson said, Comerica representatives said the bank would be in charge of the estate for 14 years, and “there would be no voice for the heirs and no votes for the heirs.” At one point, she said, “representatives from Comerica spoke very harshly to the [heirs], with one of the bank representatives actually standing up within inches from my face and speaking very aggressively and saying that the heirs have no say in the affairs of my brother, Prince.”
What’s more, Nelson continued, Comerica’s representatives “know little if anything about the entertainment industry and even less about my brother’s business specifically.”
What the heirs want, Nelson said, is to appoint a committee to make decisions about that estate. It’s not yet clear if the rest agree.
Attorneys for Comerica could not be reached for comment. A hearing in the case is scheduled for April 7.