Well, this seems to have complicated things for the estate of the late ‘His Royal Badness.’
According to a recent report from TMZ, it’s looking more and more likely that Prince died without leaving a will. And without specific instructions on how his estate should be divvied up that means (according to state law) that it’s very likely to be broken up equally amongst his surviving sisters and brothers.
Citing multiple sources, TMZ says Prince had no will at least up until 2014 and they don’t believe he bothered to get one since then.
“Our sources say various professionals raised the issue of a will with Prince but he never had an interest in drafting one,” the website claims. “We've contacted various people, including family members, and they all say they have not seen a will and so far no one has come forward with one.”
It’s an interesting turn of events considering that when he was alive Prince was extremely protective and proactive in regards to the ownership of his work. He famously changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol in effort to outmaneuver Warner Bros. during their epic contract dispute and he wasn't above suing his own fans for sharing his music online without permission.
Prince died unmarried (he’d been divorced twice), without any known children (he’d fathered a child that died a week after birth) and both of his parents are dead. So under Michigan law that means, without a will, all of Prince’s assets go to any siblings. Prince leaves behind six living siblings, his full sister Tyka Nelson and five half siblings. According to TMZ, Michigan estate law doesn’t differentiate between half and full siblings AND any children of Prince’s reported two deceased half siblings would be entitled to their late parents' inheritance. So it’s likely the estate could be split as much as eight ways.
The value of the estate actually depends on who you talk to. The L.A. Times and the website Celebrity Net Worth, put it at $300 million, while TMZ estimate it may be less than half that, with allegations that Prince had been having money problems in recent years.
But while Prince’s estate may be short on cash, it has massive value. His record sales have gone through the roof since his death, the Prince catalog of songs are untapped for licencing (something Prince refused to do when he was alive) AND there’s a supposed vault filled with decades of unreleased music, which is why a former manager told USAToday that he estimates the estate value at half a billion dollars.
UPDATE: Prince's sister Tyka has confirmed that the singer left no will. According to USAToday, She filed paperwork with a probate court in Carver County, Minnesota petitioning for the appointment of a special administrator to deal with Prince's estate. "The Decedent died intestate," her petition reads. "I do not know of the existence of a will and have no reason to believe that the Decedent executed testamentary documents in any form,"