Problems Continue in Prince’s Probate

From the Desk of Lauran L. Stevenson

Problems Continue in Prince’s Probate

The heirs have been determined, but disagreements as to the distribution of the multimillion dollar estate seem to never end. Prince’s heirs are: his sister Tyka Nelson; half-siblings Sharon Norrine and John Nelson; Omarr Baker and Alfred Jackson. The heirs have filed attorneys’ fees totaling more than $4 million, ranging from about $340,000 for the firm representing Sharon, Norrine and John Nelson, to more than $1.6 million for the two lawyers representing Alfred Jackson, per court documents.

Sharon, Norrine and John Nelson filed memorandums arguing against paying the attorneys’ fees of the other three heirs, saying they include unnecessary expenses.

At the same time, Tyka Nelson and Omarr Baker have objected to paying more than $700,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs to Stinson Leonard Street, the firm that represented Bremer Trust in its former role as special administrator. Nelson and Baker, through their attorneys, argued that Stinson failed to prove the fees benefited the estate, which represent just a month of work.

In late January, Comerica Bank and Trust was appointed as personal representative for the estate, and the bank took over Bremer’s duties with the heirs’ unanimous support. However, recent court documents show this has caused problems too.

In a sworn statement, Sharon Nelson said Comerica hasn’t made good on promises to work with the heirs to ensure Prince’s legacy and distribute the estate quickly. Nelson said that at a Feb. 28 meeting with five of the heirs, Comerica representatives said the bank would be in charge of the estate for 14 years, and “there would be no voice for the heirs and no votes for the heirs.” At one point, she said, “representatives from Comerica spoke very harshly to the [heirs], with one of the bank representatives actually standing up within inches from my face and speaking very aggressively and saying that the heirs have no say in the affairs of my brother, Prince.”