The passing of Prince left a legal mess as big as the void he left in our musical landscape. Unclear instructions, multiple children - both real and impostors - and a vault of recordings said to far surpass his formally released output, form a web that executors must untangle and monetize while protecting Prince's important and complex legacy.
On Friday, Bremer Trust, the Minnesota-based bank selected as a special administrator for the estate of the recently deceased rock star Prince, announced that it had appointed two entertainment industry veterans to manage his estate's assets. According to the New York Times, L. Londell McMillan, an entertainment attorney, and Charles A. Koppelman, former chairman of EMI Records, were announced for an initial term of 90 days.
The appointments come a week after the probate judge overseeing the disposition of the estate gave the bank authorization to appoint specialists who could “take all prudent steps to monetize the estate’s intellectual property.”
Prince, who died on April 21st of an overdose of fentanyl, an opioid painkiller, left no will for an estate that is widely considered to be quite valuable. In a recent court proceeding, a lawyer for Bremer Trust estimated that the estate's tax bill in January could range from $47 million to $146 million depending on the final valuation.
Included in the estate are tens of millions in real estate holdings as well as Prince's storied 'vault' which contains what has been described as potentially years worth of unreleased material. According to the Times, producers and musicians who have worked with Prince, suggest that there are thousands of unreleased recordings and films contained within.
McMillan represented Prince during his famous battle with Warner Records in the 1980s and now serves as CEO of media company NorthStar Enterprises. Koppelman negotiated with Prince on behalf of EMI for the release of Emancipation, Prince's first post-Warners album.