Prince Didn't Leave a Will—so What Happens Next?

by Daniel Barna
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Kevin Winter for Getty images

Now that the shock over Prince’s sudden passing has mostly subsided, the matter of who will inherit his estimated $250 million fortune has taken center stage.

It appears his fans weren’t the only ones surprised by the 57-year-old’s death. According to documents filed by his sister, Tyka Nelson, Prince left no known will, which suggests the singer—who was otherwise well known for having airtight control of his image and assets—just didn’t get around to it in time.

It’s now up to the six siblings listed in court as potential heirs to determine how Prince’s estate will be distributed. According to some lawyers, it will likely be years before his assets are properly allocated.

Perhaps the greatest lesson one can glean from the looming legal battle is that no matter your age, health, or financial standing, it’s never too early to make your will. “Anybody should have a will because it reduces the potential for controversy if your wishes are clearly set out,” says Darren Wallace, an estate lawyer at the Connecticut law firm Day Pitney, LLP.

But because Prince failed to make even a basic outline of his will, it’s now up to a “special administrator” appointed by Minnesota’s probate court to begin dividing the assets among the named beneficiaries.

On Wednesday, Judge Kevin Eide appointed Bremner Bank as the third party to determine the fate of Prince’s estate, which is said to include an endless catalog of music, multiple properties including his compound at Paisley Park, and a wealth of intellectual property that could be worth a fortune in future licensing deals.

According to Eide, Bremner Bank—the institution that managed Prince’s finances over the years—has the “authority to manage and supervise [Prince’s] assets and determine the identity of [his] heirs.”

Prince’s life may have come to an untimely end, but the battle for his legacy has only just begun.

Get your Prince fix with a copy of The Hits/The B Sides Box Set, and let us know who you think should inherit his massive fortune.

Explore: Prince, wills, prince

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