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When Prince died unexpectedly from an accidental drug overdose, he had no will. His estate included valuable music recordings, including unreleased works known as the vault. The movement of these vault materials to a storage facility in California lies at the heart of a court complaint seeking removal of Comerica Bank as the personal representative to the estate.

Six legal heirs have been identified, and three of them, Prince’s half siblings, filed the court petition. They allege that Comerica failed to inform them about the movement of the recordings or ask permission to do so. A statement from Comerica insisted that a bank representative discussed the issue with the heirs four times. According to the petition, the heirs accuse Comerica of incompetence. They claim that the representative failed to protect valuable assets, ignored a court transition order and purposefully withheld information from heirs.

Comerica requested that the judge presiding over the case allow the bank to continue in its role as estate representative. The judge approved the request, and Comerica published a statement describing the petition from the heirs as inflammatory and without factual merit.

The disputes arising from this celebrity’s death illustrate some of the issues that can arise when someone dies without a will. When that happens the laws of intestacy apply to the estate, and a court will make all decisions about the designation of heirs and distribution of assets. Any person concerned about the management of an estate could gain information from an attorney. An attorney could provide advice and courtroom representation on matters like inheritance disputes or probate paperwork. Even when a will is present, problems could still emerge, and an attorney could pursue solutions to complaints like someone having an undue influence on its preparation.