Legal Battle Over Prince’s Estate Finally Comes to a Close

by Blake Ells

It’s been six years since Prince died at the age of 57. There’s now closure on a long battle over his estate.

“There has never been a probate case in Minnesota as complicated as this one,” said Joe Cassioppi, an attorney for Comerica Bank, which served as the estate’s administrator.

The estate is valued at $156.4 million. It will be split between Prince’s three oldest siblings and Primary Wave. Primary Wave is a New York music company that purchased the shares of three other heirs.

“Our goal is to work collaboratively with them to continue to build and to grow Prince’s legacy as a 50% owner,” said Eric Magnuson, an attorney for Primary Wave. “We have the best interests of everyone in mind as we move forward.”

A major reason that the battle continued for years is because Prince didn’t leave a will. Many people tried to claim their share of the estate before a court ruled who the six heirs were. A debate raged over the value of Prince’s music. Comerica Bank slapped the catalog with an $82.3 million price tag, while the IRS believed it to be worth nearly twice that. Their $163.2 million value carried a much larger tax.

Courts landed on the $156.4 million value in January. With the case closed, the family feels closure over the iconic singer.

“Prince can no rest in peace,” said his half-sister, Sharon Nelson.

The Legacy of Prince

There have already been three posthumous releases from Prince. Piano and a Microphone 1983 was released in 2018. Originals was released in 2019. The album included versions of songs that he wrote for other artists but had recorded himself. Welcome 2 America is the most recent posthumous title, coming out in 2021. Prince released more than 30 albums in his lifetime. The last albums he released while he was living were HiTnRUN Phase One and HiTnRUN Phase Two in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

There are undoubtedly many more posthumous releases to come. There seems to be no end to the music that Prince recorded and stashed in his vault in the basement of his Paisley Park complex in Minneapolis. Some have estimated that there could be as many as 8,000 songs never released.

With the court case complete, those releases will surely resume.

Prince died on April 21, 2016. It was determined months later that upon his death, he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. The singer had battled medical issues for weeks that forced him to cancel several shows. His final performance was at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Ga. Prince sold more than 150 million albums in his career. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.