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Prince siblings clash over who should advise his estate

By | Published on Friday 13 January 2017


Prince’s siblings yesterday reached an agreement on which bank should administrate the late musician’s estate, though there is disagreement over the individuals who should have oversight of the deals done to protect and exploit his legacy and catalogue.

Six prospective heirs met in a Minnesota court yesterday to discuss the estate’s affairs. Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson had already put forward two banks as possible administrators of her brother’s estate, which has been co-ordinated by the Bremer Trust on an interim basis since his death last April.

As expected, Prince’s other siblings favoured Michigan-based Comerica Bank. The judge overseeing the late musician’s probate proceedings requested that Bremer and Comercia now discuss how they will handle the transfer of administrator status, after which he will formally appoint the latter bank.

However, there was disagreement over who should be the long term representative of the estate on commercial matters. To date, Prince’s long-term attorney L Londell McMillan and one-time EMI executive Charles A Koppelman have been leading on all that, striking up deals on behalf of the estate with the likes of Universal Music Publishing, Global Music Rights and Bravado.

Tyka Nelson and Prince’s half-brother Omarr Baker want one Anthony ‘Van’ Jones to have a key role in the running of the estate. He previously advised Prince on his philanthropic ventures and was also an advisor on the musician’s 2014 deal with Warner Music. But four other step-siblings want McMillan to continue to be the estate’s main deal maker.

According to Billboard, Nelson and Baker say that they’ve had “a lack of disclosure from Mr McMillan about his ongoing financial interest in the estate’s music deals”. The other siblings, meanwhile, say that Jones is already working for Nelson and Baker directly, so would be biased towards certain heirs if he was leading on the estate’s commercial dealings.

The judge, who earlier said that the estate was likely to be divided between the six prospective heirs in court yesterday, despite there having been other claimants, declined to give a preference for either Jones or McMillan as a potential long-term overseer of the estate’s affairs, though he indicated what criteria he would likely use for settling the matter.