Artist News Legal

Judge rules on Prince estate administrator

By | Published on Wednesday 25 January 2017


The judge overseeing legalities around the Prince estate has confirmed Michigan-based Comerica Bank as its permanent administrator. As previously reported, all six of Prince’s prospective heirs told a Minnesota court earlier this month that they were happy with Comerica taking over from the Bremer Trust in administrating the estate on a permanent basis.

However, there was disagreement between those heirs regarding who should be appointed the individual rather than corporate administrator. That individual would advise the bank on the estate’s music industry dealings, and would also be the go-between between the heirs and the bankers.

Some of the heirs wanted entertainment lawyer L Londell McMillan – who has been advising and assisting the Bremer Trust alongside one-time EMI executive Charles A Koppelman since Prince’s death last April – to take on the role on a permanent basis.

But Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson and half-brother Omarr Baker wanted Anthony ‘Van’ Jones to be the formal individual administrator, he having previously advised Prince on his philanthropic ventures and other deals.

Not only were the two sets of heirs backing different men for the individual administrator role, they also raised objections about the other side’s preferred candidate, with both McMillan and Jones being accused of having possible conflicts of interest.

In the end the judge overseeing the matter, Kevin Eide, solved the problem by deciding that the court didn’t need to actually appoint an individual administrator at all.

He ruled that, while all the heirs had said there should be an individual representing their interests, citing communication issues they had had with the Bremer Trust, he felt that the estate’s affairs were no longer subject to the “mayhem” that followed Prince’s death, and that therefore Comercia should be able to communicate effectively itself.

The bank will presumably still want assistance in navigating the music industry as it seeks to maximise the return from Prince’s catalogue and legacy. It remains to be seen if it will call of the expertise of Londell, Koppelman and/or Jones, or whether it will seek other parties who might be able to get at least the informal support of all the heirs.