After Six Years, Prince Estate Closes, and His Heirs and Beneficiaries Take Control of His Music and Legacy

After more than six years, the lengthy and often contentious court proceedings surrounding the Estate of world-renowned recording artist Prince Rogers Nelson have finally reached their conclusion.  

Today, following a hearing at the Carver County Courthouse in Minnesota, Senior Judge Kevin Eide ordered the Prince Estate’s appointed Personal Representative, Comerica Bank & Trust N.A., to commence closure of the Estate and distribute Prince’s property to the Estate’s legally-recognized beneficiaries. 

Prince died in April 2016 without a will, which placed his Estate into probate, a complex legal process used by the court to determine how a deceased person’s Estate will be distributed. In May 2017, the court formally recognized six heirs to Prince’s Estate: Prince’s half-siblings Sharon Nelson, Norrine Nelson, John Nelson, Alfred Jackson, and Omarr Baker, as well as his sister Tyka Nelson.   Subsequently, the Estate interests of Alfred Jackson, Omarr Baker, and Tyka Nelson were acquired by Primary Wave, a private equity group specializing in receiving music publishing catalogs. Primary Wave currently owns a 50% interest in the Estate.   

Before today’s distribution of Prince’s assets to the heirs and beneficiaries, Prince’s Estate’s administration continued for more than six years following his death. Sadly, during this time, two of Prince’s heirs passed away. Alfred Jackson passed away on August 19, 2019, and John Nelson died on September 3, 2021. John Nelson’s interest in the Estate will pass to a trust created during his lifetime. 

Today’s estate closing is the dawning of a new day for Prince’s legacy. Although the Estate released several reissues and compilations of Prince’s music, it has proceeded at a comparably slower pace than the catalogs for musicians such as Bob Dylan and David Bowie, and many opportunities beyond recorded music have remained unrealized. Going forward, Prince’s music and his legacy will be managed jointly by Primary Wave and Prince Legacy LLC, a company formed by Prince’s heirs and beneficiaries, including Sharon Nelson, Norinne Nelson, and The John R. Nelson Revocable Trust, as well as the heirs’ advisors L. Londell McMillan and Charles Spicer. They together own the remaining 50% of the Estate. 

In a statement to The Source, Mr. McMillan said, “Prince was a great man. He was and still is the greatest artist and musician who ever lived, in my opinion.”

He added, “we look forward to managing the estate with all stakeholders to preserve Prince’s true legacy.”