The Estate of legendary musician, formerly known as Prince, has (for at least the second time) requested the Trump campaign to stop playing Prince’s most famous song, “Purple Rain,” or any of his songs at Trump’s campaign events. The Estate owns all copyrights to the music of Prince. Last year, a letter from a lawyer for the Trump campaign said it would cease and desist using Prince’s music after a similar request from Prince’s Estate. The statement from a representative of Prince’s Estate was “The Prince Estate will never give permission to President Trump to use Prince’s songs.” The song was recently played at 2020 campaign rally. It is unclear whether this was error or mistake by the Trump campaign or disregard of the rights of the Estate (since the Estate owns the rights to his songs). 

Although Prince died without a Will more than three years ago, his Estate (which owns the rights to all of his recordings and a Caribbean villa) is far from settled. Since Prince died intestate, the court had to appoint an administrator to gather assets belonging to his Estate, pay his bills, etc. It is anticipated that this could take over a decade as there have been numerous people alleging they are heirs to his estimated $200 million Estate. As a result of Prince’s failure to have an Estate plan, it is expected that accountants, lawyers and the administrator (not to mention the government as there was no tax planning) will be the biggest beneficiaries of his estimated Estate of $200 million. The Estate’s administrator, Comerica Bank, which took over for Bremer Trust, has already spent over $45 million exclusive of an additional $31 million of estate taxes due, plus interest owed. Additionally, since Prince had no Will or Trust, the court had to determine who are the heirs of Prince. More than 45 people claimed to be heirs – ranging from being a wife to a sibling. DNA testing was even required. The court has narrowed the heirs down to six – five half-siblings and one full sibling. One of them died on August 29, 2019. Although the heirs have not agreed upon practically anything increasing Estate expenses, they have unified to challenge Comerica over its cash flow projections, accounting and inventory of Estate assets. It appears that Prince’s failure to plan will make many wealthy – but probably not those whom he desired.

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