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Delaware Court Denies Dismissal Request in Prince Estate Dispute

 July 7, 2024

A Delaware judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought by former business advisers to late music star Prince against some of his siblings and other heirs in a contentious dispute over his estate.

The judge has upheld the original management agreement involving the pop icon, allowing claims that the defendants breached the agreement to move forward, as ABC News reports.

Legal Battle Over Prince's Estate

L. Londell McMillan and Charles Spicer Jr., who were former advisers to Prince, filed a lawsuit against two of Prince's siblings and other heirs. This lawsuit centers on a dispute regarding the management and interests in Prince's estate.

In this recent ruling, a Delaware judge stated that the agreement replacing McMillan and Spicer as managers of Prince Legacy LLC was invalid. According to this ruling, the original management agreement remains in place.

Prince, the legendary musician, passed away in 2016 due to an accidental fentanyl overdose, leaving behind no will. His six siblings inherited equal shares in his estate, leading to an intricate legal battle.

Inheritance and Management Roles

Three of Prince's siblings collectively assigned their 50% interest in the estate to Prince Legacy LLC. They granted McMillan and Spicer each a 10% interest and broad management authority.

Sharon Nelson, one of Prince's siblings, spearheaded an effort to replace McMillan and Spicer by attempting to amend the LLC agreement. However, Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick ruled that the initial LLC agreement is clear and prevents such amendments.

Due to this ruling, McMillan and Spicer maintain their roles as managing members of Prince Legacy LLC, with the right to pursue claims that the defendants breached the LLC agreement by trying to modify it without authorization.

Heirs and Their Actions

This lawsuit involves Tyka Nelson (Prince's sister) and five half-siblings: Sharon Nelson, Norrine Nelson, John R. Nelson, Omarr Baker, and Alfred Jackson. Several heirs have taken actions that complicate the legal situation further.

Tyka, Omarr, and Alfred sold their stake to Primary Wave Music, LLC, which later transferred its interests to Prince OAT Holdings LLC. Alfred Jackson has since passed away.

Sharon, Norrine, and John assigned 20% of their collective interests to McMillan and Spicer before John died in 2021. John's interests were then transferred to a trust managed by co-trustees Breanna Nelson, Allen Nelson, and Johnny Nicholas Nelson Torres.

Contentious Management Attempts

Sharon Nelson allegedly tried to take control of management decisions and demanded that the entire staff of the Paisley Park Museum be replaced, adding tension to the situation. Additionally, Sharon accused McMillan and Spicer of fraudulent actions and sought to sell her interests in Prince Legacy without the necessary consent.

The broader legal battle over Prince's estate, valued at approximately $156 million after a 2022 court agreement, continues to unfold with various parties and interests involved.

Future of the Lawsuit

As Chancellor McCormick emphasized, "As a matter of contract law, this is the only reasonable interpretation." Such clarity in the original agreement is crucial for the ongoing legal processes.

With this latest ruling, McMillan and Spicer are set to continue their claims that the defendants breached the management agreement through unauthorized attempts to alter it. The legal landscape remains complex, with numerous parties and various interests at stake.

This decision marks a significant moment in the long-standing conflict surrounding Prince's estate, highlighting the intricate dynamics among his heirs and former business advisers.

As the legal proceedings progress, the outcome will likely have significant implications for the management and distribution of Prince's assets. Observers and stakeholders will be watching closely to see how the court further interprets and enforces the original management agreement.

The lawsuit underscores the challenges of managing and distributing the estate of a high-profile individual like Prince, particularly in the absence of a will.


The Delaware court's decision to uphold the original management agreement and deny the dismissal of the lawsuit allows McMillan and Spicer to pursue claims that some of Prince's siblings and heirs breached this agreement.

As the legal battle continues, the court's interpretation of the original agreement plays a pivotal role in the management and ultimate resolution of Prince's estate, now valued at roughly $156 million.