As an artist, Prince was fiercely protective of his music.
"If you don't own your masters, your master owns you," he said in a 1996 interview with Rolling Stone.
Prince, however, demonstrated a lot less clarity in terms of estate planning.
His sister, Tyka Nelson, filed court documents Tuesday asking for a special administrator for the artist's estate, stating that she had no knowledge of a will and had no reason to believe Prince created one.
If that is the case, whoever inherits the estate may find themselves with the autonomy to do as they please with the late artist's assets. So control over Prince's music, including a rumored trove of unpublished material, could die with him.
"Any intent that he may have had to control his publicity and likeness is moot if he didn't document that in a legal estate planning forum," said Richard Behrendt, director of estate planning at Annex Wealth Management and a former estate tax attorney with the IRS.
"That's the ultimate irony," he added.