After six years, the court battle over Prince’s $156 million estate is now over. The late singer, who died in 2016 of a fentanyl overdose, did not leave a will.
“If there was estate planning, it would have been shorter. But when there is no will, and it has to go through probate, it is often much longer. You see many estate (battles) that last for 10 years and more,” L. Londell McMillan, the attorney and manager of Prince Legacy, LLC, said. “We would have liked it to be over sooner. But we’re very grateful that we have a chance to take it over now.”
Billboard reported that Prince’s six half-siblings were named legal heirs, with three selling almost all of their shares of the estate to New York music company Primary Wave. The other three hired McMillan, a former Prince adviser, and Charles Spicer, a court-appointed adviser, to manage their shares, The Guardian said.
On Monday, a Minnesota judge signed off on a deal almost evenly dividing the estate between Primary Wave and the three Prince heirs and their families.
According to Billboard, Prince’s assets include $6 million in cash and much more in music rights and other intangibles.
“Prince was certainly a music icon and probably the greatest music artist of all time. If you look at every category, performing, dancing, songwriting, producing, no one was better than Prince. And he generated considerable wealth and assets,” McMillan said.
For him, though, it wasn’t just about the cash.
“(Prince) stood for purpose as well. He meant something,” McMillan said. “So beyond just the music, we want to celebrate and push what he meant for and what he stood for artistically, culturally, artists’ rights — he was an advocate for many things that the estate just was not able to fully put out there.”
With the deal now closed, McMillan said there are “many exciting” plans the heirs have for their share of the estate.
These include music exhibitions, films and even Broadway shows.
“We’re going to invest in that purple legacy. That is going to be magical and special because he’s not here,” McMillan said. “But he left directions on what he wanted to do.”
Prince left memos and had discussions with trusted people on what he wanted done with his property, including an unreleased vault of “hundreds of songs,” McMillan said.
“We’ll have to go through, digitize, make them appropriate for release, consult with our fans, family and friends as well as our partners, and come up with a catalog plan that gets this music out, but also celebrates his legacy, not just as an artist,” McMillan said. “He also was someone who stood for something special and purposeful. And that’s the special thing about him — he was not just charitable, but also culturally relevant in the community.”
Primary Wave, in a statement to Billboard, said the company is “extremely pleased that the process of closing the Prince Estate has now been finalized.”
“When we announced our acquisition of the additional expectancy interests in the estate last year bringing our ownership interest to 50%, our goal was to protect and grow Prince’s incomparable legacy. With the distribution of estate assets, we look forward to a strong and productive working relationship,” Primary Wave said in the statement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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