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Prince heirs seek new administrator while probate drags on

It has been over a year and a half since superstar Prince was found dead in his mansion. As if the death of Prince did not provide enough of a cautionary tale for those in Pennsylvania whose estates are unprepared, more news has recently come from the seemingly never-ending probate. At first, the court had the monumental task of validating the true heirs from among the dozens who sought to share in the colossal fortune. Now some of the approved heirs are fighting for a new estate administrator.

Comerica Bank & Trust was appointed to represent the estate by the judge overseeing the probate of the singer's fortune, estimated to be worth up to $300 million. Three of the heirs to this estate have filed a petition for the removal of Comerica on the grounds that the company is unqualified to manage the types of assets the estate holds. The heirs claim that Comerica continues to make costly mistakes in managing the distribution of Prince's music, contracts for future releases and other creative matters.

The cause of this mismanagement, according to the petition, is that Comerica purposely misled the court and the heirs about its ability to handle these matters. For example, they say Comerica has already cost the heirs about $2 million by failing to preserve and archive assets Prince kept in his vault, including previously unreleased music. By moving the items, the representative risked the items losing their value -- part of which is contained in the mystique -- by allowing them to be leaked to the public.

While most estates going through probate in Pennsylvania are not likely to have heirs fighting over $300 million worth of assets, those failing to engage in proper estate planning risk creating disputes for those left behind. Part of that preparation is choosing an executor to represent the estate competently. Often, families find that having a skilled estate planning attorney handle the matters of probate relieves them of the burden while they are grieving.

Source: startribune.com, "3 Prince heirs demand new administrator for artist's massive estate", David Chanen, Oct. 30, 2017

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