Three years after the legendary ‘Purple Rain’ singer’s death, the estate of Prince remains in dispute, unsettled and haemorrhaging vast amounts of money to professional administrators.

In a bid to take more control over the perceived excessive outgoings from the estate, all six of Prince’s siblings have unified, locking themselves in a legal battle with Comerica Bank & Trust after an estimated $45 million (approximately £34 million) has already been spent on administration costs associated with the probate process and a further $10 million (£7.7 million) splashed on the firm’s legal fees.

The petition, filed to the Minnesota probate court in February, has united Prince’s full and half siblings amidst fears that legal representatives are failing in their administrative duties whilst taking a substantial slice of the singer’s life-time earnings in the process.

According to the petition, it has been alleged that Dallas-based firm Comerica Bank & Trusts, have overlooked an outstanding tax bill worth around £24 million; a liability that is constantly accruing unnecessary and additional interest.

The siblings are also anxious about the fees being charged for the services that have been completed by the firm. The court proceedings will look to reduce the role current administrators play with reoccurring concerns regarding the inventory and accounting of the Estate causing additional anxiety.

Prince’s siblings and beneficiaries of the estate have commented that they feel they: “Do not agree with Comerica’s cashflow projections, accounting, or inventory of estate assets.”

The family have therefore urged the court to authorise a transition plan, allowing the beneficiaries to appoint a new administrator by the end of June 2019.

Conversely, Comerica are arguing for the petition to be denied, stating that all work has been completed to strict guidelines and deadlines.

A Spokesperson for Comerica Tax & Trusts, commented: “The heirs are understandably frustrated that, three years after their brother’s death, the Estate is not ready to be closed.

“But the fact remains that until the Estate resolves its tax liability with the IRS and MNDOR (Minnesota state taxes), neither the court nor Comerica can close the Estate or make a distribution of assets to the Heirs.

“No one is better suited to effectively administer the Estate than Comerica.”

The death of a celebrity, especially those that die intestate and without a Will, has frequently resulted in attempts to exploit the situation. This case has already been through the exploitation mill with over 45 people claiming to be the love-child of, secret wife of or sibling of the deceased star until the six beneficiaries were chosen by a presiding judge in 2016. Now, as this case rolls through court once again, it will determine if the fees charged were exploitative and whether the claims lodged by the beneficiaries have any merit.

Martin Parrin
Aprl 24th 2019