MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — According to Prince’s sister, the musician died without leaving a will.
Tyka Nelson filed an emergency motion Tuesday asking for a special administrator to be appointed to handle the artist’s estate. Prince died last Thursday at his Paisley Park complex in Chanhassen.
In the filing, Nelson lists herself and six half siblings, including one who passed away, as potential heirs.
Public estimates have valued Prince’s estate at around $150 million. But the value could be much greater because of a reported vault of unreleased recordings at Paisley Park.
Prince was married and divorced twice, and his only child died of a rare genetic disorder in 1996 a week after his birth.
Under Minnesota law, half siblings and full siblings are treated equally.
Appointing an administrator can mean a speedier legal process.
“If you want to go really fast, get to court quickly and get your hands on the asset, because you want to protect the property of the decedent, you get a special administrator,” said Twin Cities attorney Joe Tamburino.
Financial experts say that, because there’s no will, Prince’s heirs will likely pay hefty legal and administrative bills to go through the probate system.
And they will also pay tens of millions of dollars in estate taxes.
RBC Wealth Management told WCCO-TV that for a $100 million estate, state taxes would be $15 million and the federal tax bill would be $32 million.
In her filing, Nelson says the value of Prince’s assets and debts is unknown. But unlike other superstars, Prince’s net worth may jump after his death.
“This could be special situation, like Elvis or Michael Jackson, where estate gets bigger after death,” Tamburino said. “Because look what we are seeing right now, so many downloads of Prince songs.”
In addition to the 39 albums he released in his lifetime, Prince kept 26 unpublished albums of music in a Paisley Park vault.
What happens with those unpublished albums could have an enormous impact on the value of his estate.
Paisley Park alone is valued at $7 million.
Previous Legal Battles In Prince’s Family
Tyka Nelson is Prince’s only surviving full sibling. WCCO found in past court records, Tyka at one point received public assistance while still living in the North Minneapolis home where she grew up with Prince. In 2014, she filed an order for protection against her husband.
Two weeks later, her husband filed a restraining order of his own saying he felt threatened when Tyka used drugs.
WCCO also found this isn’t the first time Prince’s family has gone to court to work out an estate. 15 years ago, Prince’s father, John Nelson died without a will when he was 85.
At that time, Prince’s half-sister, Lorna Nelson filed a motion to remove Prince as his father’s “appointed personal representative.”
John had six children set to split around $300,000. But, that court filing from Lorna hints at a strained relationship with her half-brother.
Prince’s attorneys wrote “This is not Lorna Nelsons’ first foray into frivolous attacks surrounding this probate action and given the history, it will not be the last,” and that this move “reveals nothing more than anxiousness to get at the money.”
But Lorna stated she thought she was closer to her father than any other siblings, and that her dad wanted her to have a $400,000 check to launch a career in music.
Those same documents say Prince took care of his father, buying his dad a house in Chanhassen and paying for in-home nursing care after his dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Lorna Nelson died three years after her father’s will was settled in 2006. She was 63.
Duane Nelson was also a half-brother of Prince. Nelson worked security at Paisley Park for years where court documents show he got into some physical fights. Prince eventually filed a restraining order against his half-brother. Duane Nelson died two years ago at the age of 52.