Alleged Prince Heirs Will Challenge Judge’s Decision To Exclude Them

heir to prince estateThe battle over the estate of music legend Prince continues as two women, who claim they are the pop icon’s niece and grandniece, have announced they will appeal a judge’s decision in late October which excluded them as heirs of the multimillion dollar estate.

Prince, who is considered one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of his era, died April 21 of a fentanyl overdose. He was a resident of Minnesota.

Brianna Nelson and her niece, Victoria, claim to be descended from the late Duane Nelson Sr., who was allegedly a half-brother to Prince. The women argued Minnesota law should allow their claim because Prince’s father, John L. Nelson, treated Duane Nelson Sr. as his son for many years. Judge Kevin Eide did not agree. He said Minnesota probate law now requires parent-child relationships and that these can only be established by genetics, adoption, assisted reproduction or a presumed relationship that was legally established before death.

Eide told the Nelsons that there is no case law in Minnesota or anywhere in the United States that he is aware of that establishes a parent-child relationship for intestacy purposes “where there is no genetic relationship but the parties to the relationship held themselves out to be parent and child.” Eide denied the Nelsons’ claim as “a matter of law.”

Another man, Corey Simmons, who is also claiming to be Prince’s nephew due to his descent from Duane Nelson Sr., was to provide the judge evidence that he is a rightful heir by Nov. 25 or also face exclusion. An update on Simmons’ case could not be located.

Estate Said To Be Worth $200 Million

Although many have claimed to be heirs of Prince, so far the superstar’s sister, Tyka, and five half- siblings are the only ones in line to inherit equal shares of the estate. A more specific estimate of its worth has now been calculated and financial experts say it will be in the area of $200 million. About half of the inheritance will go to taxes. The final total worth of the estate won’t be determined until after future appraisals of property and assets which includes the Paisley Park studio complex, Prince’s musical catalog which includes many unpublished works and other assets.

The $200 million figure, which was used in a recent court filing, was derived from a Bremer Trust fee schedule based on the value of the estate. Bremer Trust, a financial institution Prince had used during his lifetime, was appointed administrator of his estate shortly after his death. A recently discovered memo mentioned Bremer Trust’s fee for administering the estate is $90,000 per month. The Associated Press used this information to calculate the $200 million figure and two estate law experts reviewed the data and agreed with the conclusion.

The estates of several deceased rock stars continues to generate profits and Prince ranks fifth on the current list. His estate has sold more albums than that of any deceased musician and has taken in $25 million since his death.

The estate has until Jan. 21, 2017—nine months after Prince’s death–to file federal and state estate tax returns although an extension is possible. There are also options to payment of the estimated tax which amounts to about half of the estate’s value.

Paisley Park Opened To Public

Paisley Park, Prince’s beloved estate where he recorded most of his music, has now officially opened for public tours. Some local zoning objections to establishing the site as a museum are apparently being resolved and Prince’s studio complex and home in Chanhassen, MN were allowed to open to the public in October with temporary permits.

In December, guests of the Park had an opportunity to choose to attend a Friday evening “Paisley Park After Dark” dance party. Prince movies and rare performance footage are now featured -Saturday evenings at the Park. The tours also include other events for those with VIP status. On Thursdays these ticketholders can record vocals over a short segment of a Prince song in the Studio B control room and take the live mix home with them. On Sundays, the “Brunch Experience” includes a meal in Prince’s private music club.

More Prince News

The first major deal for Prince’s music has been reached with songwriting rights going to the Universal Music Publishing Group for an undisclosed sum. Universal Music Publishing, a division of the Universal Music Publishing Group, had rights to Prince’s music catalog from 2001 to 2014 when Prince took full control of his publishing rights.

The deal gives Universal long-term “administration” rights for hits like “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry” and raises the possibility that songs Prince withheld from online services could become more widely available to the general public. Prince had restricted his music from all streaming services except Tidal, which is available in only 52 countries.

“Administration” rights means Prince’s estate retains ownership of the songs. Prince’s recorded music rights are not covered in the Universal deal and are currently the subject of aggressive bidding, according to the website,

The rights to Prince’s publishing catalog which includes the lyrics, chords and melodies of many of his songs is particularly valuable, according to those in the music business. Prince died without a will and apparently left no instructions about how his music empire should be managed after his demise.

New Prince Albums Released

In late October, Warner Bros. Records announced the release of two new Prince projects that will include previously unheard material from his vault. These will be the first official Prince albums released since his death.

“Prince4Ever” is the title of a 40-song compilation which includes hits and best-known songs from his Warner Bros. days which ended in 1996. The album, which was scheduled to be in stores Nov. 22, also features a booklet with previously unseen photographs of the famed artist.

Warner Bros. also announced a “Purple Rain” deluxe reissue coming out early next year. The album—once scheduled to be released in 2014–will coincide with the 30th anniversary of the release of the original album. A second album of unreleased songs will also be featured in the reissue.

Probate Problems and Disputes

Issues, problems and disputes often arise after an individual’s death that need to be resolved using the legal system.  This area of the law is known as probate litigation and we have highly experienced attorneys who help clients with probate litigation issues.

Please contact us for a free consultation at any time by calling 1-888-467-5105, chatting with one of our 24-hour live chat representatives or sending us a website message.


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