It has been nearly four years since rock icon Prince died unexpectedly without having left a Will or Trust, and his estate is far from settled. His fortune, estimated to be worth between $100 to $300 million plus royalties, was set to pass to six siblings. However, one of Prince’s brothers, Alfred Jackson, died recently just hours after selling 90 percent of his estate rights to a New York-based entertainment company called Primary Wave. The company reportedly owns interests in the estates of Whitney Houston and Glenn Gould, and owns the copyrights to thousands of songs. Another of Prince’s siblings, Tyka Nelson, also entered into a deal with Primary Wave whereby she received cash up front in exchange for estate assets.
Jackson’s Will provides that his estate assets, including the remaining 10 percent of his share of Prince’s estate, will pass to a friend. That friend, Raffles Van Exel, holds himself out as an ‘Entertainment Consultant’ who apparently had relationships with other high-profile celebrities at opportune moments when those celebrities were vulnerable. That history is raising questions now among Prince’s remaining siblings and it seems likely that Jackson’s family will contest his last Will and Testament.
The agreement Jackson entered into with Primary Wave is also a source of concern for Prince’s remaining siblings, who fear the company’s involvement in the estate will lead to more delays and expenses in an estate settlement process that has already taken its toll on their resources. Concerns have also been raised about whether Jackson had the mental capacity to enter into such an agreement.
When the estate will ultimately be settled, and how much the heirs will receive after millions of dollars go to pay legal and estate settlement costs, is anyone’s guess. This case serves as a sobering reminder of the importance of creating and updating estate planning documents. If you need to begin or update your estate plan, The Estate Planning & Legacy Law Center can help. Contact us today to learn more!