Court approves entertainment experts in Prince estate case

A hearing was held Tuesday to determine whether Bremer Trust, the Special Administrator managing the estate in the short term, can hire outside experts to help convert assets into cash, and pay expenses.

- The Carver County, Minnesota judge overseeing the proceedings in the estate of Prince has approved the hiring of entertainment industry experts by special administrator Bremer Trust.

In Tuesday afternoon’s hearing, a lawyer for Bremer Trust said outside experts were needed due to the complexities of managing Prince’s music catalog, contracts, licensing, copyright, digital streaming, dealing with online bootlegging and running Paisley Park. The attorney also expressed concern with the estate having enough cash on hand to pay the 47 to 50 percent of assets the government will take in taxes. The taxes are due on January 21, 2017.

In approving the request to hire experts, the court said, “There are business related decisions which need to be made promptly on behalf of the Estate and the Special Administrator needs the advice of industry experts to make these decisions in a prudent manner.”

The court order also said Bremer Trust may need to enter into longer term contacts “regarding, among other things, licensing and publishing of intellectual property and the management of tangible property including Paisley Park.”

A lawyer for Carlin Williams, the Colorado prison inmate who claims to be Prince’s biological son, argued outside experts should not be hired until the heirs are determined. The lawyer was concerned with experts singing lengthy contracts that could last beyond the limited time Bremer Trust manages the estate.

“The Court agrees with Carlin Q. Williams that the Court and the Special Administrator may have a much better idea of who the heir(s) of Prince Rogers Nelson are in 60 days; however, a final and legal determination of who the heir(s) are will likely take a much longer period of time,” the order said.

Anyone who currently claims to be an heir must answer a questionnaire, under oath, before June 20. The questionnaire asks questions about family members. Bremer Trust will then have three days to accept the claims, deny the claims or order a DNA test.

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