Future of Prince's estate up in air

It's impossible to put a value on the life of a gifted artist like Prince, who was found dead at Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minn. on Thursday morning. But the music icon was also a savvy businessman, so the question remains: who will inherit his sizeable estate?

Prince had recently signed a big deal with the music streaming service Tidal and reached a settlement with Warner Brothers that gave him ownership of his back catalogue. But the reality is, Prince never really cashed in on celebrity endorsements like he could have. It was always about the music. And in the long run, that might make his estate even more valuable.

Among the treasures inside Paisley Park is the so-called vault in the basement, where Prince reportedly kept the master recordings to hundreds of unpublished songs and at least two complete albums.

Entertainment attorney Lee Phillips became Prince's lawyer when he was just 18 and represented him for more than a decade.

Phillips says for icons that die young, like Prince at 57 and Michael Jackson at 50, their intellectual property skyrockets.  

“There will be a spike in income [when] people of that ilk pass away, especially in [their] 50s,” Phillips says. 

But, the platinum question is whether the eccentric, mercurial Prince Rogers Nelson, had drawn up a will at all. 

“It has lots of potential to get messy or not messy at all depends if he had an estate plan monitored,” Phillips said.

The twice divorced singer had no direct heirs, leaving behind a sister and several half siblings.

Paisley Park has an assessed value of $6.7 million.  Prince also owns nearby property and has his own charity.

“He may well have set up a foundation where all of it went to charitable purposes,” Phillips said. “It's what I would have done if I were Prince.

But, Prince's finances have always been murky. The real value will be that secret stockpile of recordings – a legacy that will live on artistically and financially.

“[There] could well be things in those recordings that could knock your socks off.

Prince had about $11 million in property in Carver County. The taxes on Paisley Park alone were a quarter of a million dollars a year.
If prince did not have a will – Phillips told Fox 9 he would not be surprised in the least by that – it’s the state of Minnesota and the probate courts who will decide who gets what.