Judge allows trust to hire entertainment business consultants

Prince's Paisley Park complex
Paisley Park, the home and studio of Prince, in Chanhassen, Minn.
Scott Olson | Getty Images

The trust handling the business affairs of Prince may begin hiring consultants to figure out what to do with the late pop star's affairs.

Carver County District Court Judge Kevin Eide made the ruling a day after Bremer Trust and prospective heirs of Prince were in court over the late icon's legacy.

Prince died April 21 of a fentanyl overdose. He apparently left no will, leaving his family, creditors and would-be heirs to battle over his estate. His sister, Tyka Nelson, won an order approving the appointment of Bremer Trust as a temporary administrator of Prince's affairs shortly after his death.

Bremer had asked the court approve a plan to engage experts to handle Prince's musical and entertainment legacy. Doug Peterson, attorney for Bremer, told Eide Tuesday that looming estate tax obligations, a summer tribute concert and a group looking to leverage Prince's studio complex mean the trust had little time to waste. He said Bremer also is looking for expertise in how to more fully market Prince's music online.

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But Patrick Cousins, an attorney for 39-year-old Carlin Williams, who has made a claim that he is Prince's son, argued that the trust needs to move slower, so as not to obligate heirs to long-term agreements.

In his order Wednesday, Eide acknowledged that DNA testing may soon identify Prince's heirs, and solve lingering questions about who will have long-term authority over Prince's estate.

"The Special Administrator has not been granted, and the court will not grant at this time, the authority to enter into contractual relationships that will extend beyond the term of the Special Administration," Eide wrote. The term of the trust's oversight runs through Nov. 2.

But Eide also left the door open for longer-term deals, with court approval and comment from potential heirs.

"By issuance of this order, the Court does not intend to impede or slow down the work of the Special Administrator," Eide wrote.

A hearing scheduled for June 27 is expected to take up the process Bremer Trust has proposed to determine if people making claims are Prince's blood relatives.