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Two years later still interpreting Prince’s wishes

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2018 | Estate Administration & Probate |

Hard to believe as it is, the artist passed away two years ago in April 2016. In the meantime, his home at Paisley Park has been turned into a public museum. And his $100 to $300 million-dollar estate is still being fought over by a sibling and half-siblings.

In his former home, there is now a gift shop, restaurant and party space operated by a company that also oversees Graceland. Cell phones are forbidden on the tour, the same as when he was alive, and the restaurant is vegetarian just like Prince was.


In a February post, we wrote about what Prince would have wanted in the context of a posthumous Super Bowl performance with Justin Timberlake.

It also turns out that Timberlake had a pre-Super Bowl party at Paisley Park. He obtained a waiver in the lease to allow guests to being in cell phone and liquor.

Because he left no estate plan, individuals he did not chose were the ones deciding whether to allow an exception. A Washington Post article mentioned that trying to interpret “Prince’s wishes could be an academic discipline.”

This is the natural point for a reminder that to avoid all the guesswork, develop an estate plan. Below are a couple of added issues for a person in the public sphere who might have numerous artistic works.

Licensing deals

A licensing deal with the Minnesota Twins allows the franchise to sell Prince related merchandise. An annual Prince Night will also be held at the ballpark around the time of his birthday.

It is understandable that the Twins want to be associated with Prince, but the sport he enjoyed watching was basketball. And as a Jehovah’s Witness (who only celebrate milestones for Jesus), he did not celebrate birthdays.

Vault of work

Prince kept everything and was known to write a song a day. His extensive vault of unreleased music has been transferred to Los Angeles after the discovery of mold and water damage in the Paisley Park basement.

He was the ultimate decision maker about what he shared. His estate representatives have not disclosed what or when they might release some of the vault’s contents. It is probably a good bet that if he would have wanted something public, he would have already released it. What will become of this material?

His legacy and contribution to music will continue on, but it could have had more of his stamp with proper planning.