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Prince heirs in legal battle with new estate administrators

Since Prince passed away in earlier 2016, his potential heirs have repeatedly been at odds with estate administrators. They claimed that the first organization put in charge of the pop star's estate -- the Bremer Trust -- failed to handle certain matters with due diligence. Earlier in 2017, the courts removed the estate from Bremer and passed control of it to Comerica. The heirs, it seems, are still not happy.

According to court documents, the heirs have filed complaints about Comerica. Specifically, the heirs don't believe Comerica has the experience or knowledge to handle the Prince estate. The estate admittedly contains numerous specialty assets that would require industry knowledge to manage the highest benefits. The heirs have also stated that they will seek legal action to remove Comerica as the administrator if the organization doesn't "change its behavior" toward the heirs.

In January, a judge in the case ruled against establishing an intermediary between the heirs and the administrator. It seems that the problem with that route was that the heirs couldn't agree who should take that role. Meanwhile, the ongoing legal battles are costing the estate.So far, executors have paid approximately $2.3 million in legal fees and expenses alone.

The legal matters aren't likely to be concluded soon in this case, since heirship hasn't been fully decided. While a sibling and several half siblings have strong claims to the estate, and are likely to inherit something, the courts are still working through other potential heirs; some have taken DNA test to prove they are related to Prince.

This is an interesting case to follow not because most people have billion-dollar estates wrapped up in the entertainment industry, but because it's a great illustration of what might happen if you pass away without any estate plans. It can leave your heirs fighting for their interests and your legacy. Working early to establish your estate plans can preclude a lot of this trouble.

Source: WJLA, "Prince's heirs at odds with estate administrators," March 16, 2017

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