Artist News Legal

Eleven people claim to be heirs of Prince at court hearing

By | Published on Tuesday 28 June 2016


Representatives for eleven potential heirs of Prince took their seats in a Minnesota courtroom yesterday at a hearing designed to finalise the process for confirming each claimant’s case for being a blood relation of the late popstar.

According to Billboard, the eleven claimants include the musician’s sister Tyka Nelson and the five step-siblings she identified in her initial probate filing. She and four of those step-siblings were personally in attendance yesterday.

Other claimants include two other people who say they are step-sisters of Prince, two women whom claim to be the musician’s niece and grand-niece, and a man who claims to be his son. The latter was represented at yesterday’s hearing despite an Associated Press report that his DNA test had already shown there was not, in fact, a family link.

Those who are deemed rightful heirs of Prince will get a share of his fortune – valued at somewhere between $100 million and $300 million – as well as a say over how his catalogue – both released and unreleased – and legacy is managed moving forward. Legal reps for Nelson and the originally listed step-siblings urged the judge to reach a speedy conclusion on which of the eleven were legit heirs, stressing that decisions needed to be made about the Prince estate sooner rather than later, as well as adding “the family needs some closure”.

There is still some legal wrangling to be done. Nelson et al back a proposed plan by the trust overseeing the estate for working out who is a legitimate heir, firstly through paperwork and, if necessary, through genetic testing. But the lawyers repping other claimants raised issues not so much with that process, but with the trust’s interpretation of Minnesota probate and parentage law. Things are not quite as straight forward as the trust is saying, said some of the lawyers in the room.

Aware of the demand for speed from some claimants, but also the need to get this right first time, the judge said that there would now be a two week period for evaluating all the competing arguments.

As previously reported, Prince left no will when he died in April. A legal rep for the trust overseeing the estate confirmed administrators had searched thousands of boxes in four separate locations looking for a will and found nothing. “There’s no indication that a will exists”, said the lawyer. “We have basically now looked under every box lid”.