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Minnesota judge will try to untangle Prince’s estate

8.12_Jacob Burns Film Center presents Purple Rain

This month the Minnesota judge who is handling the case regarding musician Prince’s fortune and assets has started the proceedings in order to determine the legitimate heirs of the late musician after his unexpected death. Prince left no will indicating how his fortune should be divided and to whom the inheritance should be awarded.

With both parents deceased, no current wife and no living children, the case may prove to be difficult and drawn-out for District Court Judge Kevin Eide. He is willing to work through the case no matter how long it takes as this case may set a precedent in Minnesota law.

Prince Rogers Nelson is the full name of the pop icon who died suddenly of an overdose of the powerful opioid fentanyl in April of this year.

Presiding over the hearing of Prince’s fortune without a written will and with no clear-cut inheritors makes this case a first for Minnesota law. Several potential inheritors have come forward but none have been confirmed.

The fortune they have laid claim to is no small amount; experts have speculated that it is in the range of $100 million to $300 million. Prince left archives of unreleased music, rights to his music and the Paisley Park estate near Minneapolis, where Prince lived.

The court contracted a trust management group headed by trust attorney, David Crosby, to search Paisley Park for a will, but they have not found anything that even suggests that there is a will in existence.

The wealth management firm Bremer Trust is overseeing the estate and will run DNA tests on those who have alleged themselves to be heirs to Prince’s fortune. Exactly how this testing will be done was determined in the first hearing while another hearing will utilize the scientific evidence procured by the DNA tests to qualify those claims or not.

Six people so far will be represented by lawyers in the hearing as possible heirs to a percentage of the estate. At least two of these alleged heirs have protested the mandated blood and genetic testing as unnecessary, stating that they have a way to prove their relation to Prince.

Among those who have come forward are a young man in a Colorado prison who claims to be Prince’s son and two young women who claim to be his niece and granddaughter. Prince has one biological sister and five half-siblings.

Judge Kevin Eide has not released the affidavits and documents of those who have made a claim to the inheritance and will not allow any cameras to record the hearing despite petitions by several news outlets.

Another hearing will address the media’s ability to access the documents and to enter the courtroom.

Trust and Estates attorney Kerri Castellini commented, “Whether or not a rightful heir is found, there will be at least one party that benefits from Prince’s Estate: the IRS. State and federal taxes may consume a large portion of Prince’s estate if there was no prior tax planning.”

This ruling will certainly set precedents for future cases involving inheritance of large estates, especially when a prominent figure is implicated. It appears that Prince’s legacy will now sashay into the world of law.

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