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What would Prince have wanted? And who gets to decide?

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2018 | Fiduciaries, Trustees |

In his Super Bowl halftime performance, Justin Timberlake paid tribute to Minnesota native Prince. And a producer who handled the visuals said that Timberlake decided that the “only person who could do Prince justice [was] Prince.” So the performance included video footage projected onto a purple screen from a 1984 Syracuse concert and the movie “Purple Rain.”

For many fans, this was shocking given Prince’s viewpoint of posthumous performances as the “most demonic thing imaginable.” In an interview from 1998, he stated, “That’ll never happen to me. To prevent this kind of thing … is another reason I want artistic control.”

Lost last wishes

Because Prince passed away without a will, a bank made the ultimate decision. Last year, a Minnesota judge appointed Comerica Bank & Trust as fiduciary until his heirs (a sister and five half-siblings) reach an agreement over estate taxes with the IRS.

The heirs cannot make decisions regarding an estate although they are often consulted. In this case, the bank appointed a former musician manager to be the entertainment adviser. In other cases, attorneys are often asked to serve in the role of fiduciary.

Changing opinion with technology

Before the performance, his former percussionist tweeted, “Prince told me don’t ever let anyone do a hologram of me.” Technically, there was not a hologram of the artist.

His sister noted that it was impossible to know what Prince would have wanted. His views could had changed as technology has become ubiquitous in our lives since the interview 20 years ago. Would he have drawn a distinction between a hologram and video woven into the live performance?

There is a way to prevent a bank from making decisions on your behalf, however, it requires planning. An estate planning attorney can help you get a will in place so that loved ones are not left wondering what you would have wanted.