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Prince estate still on hold due to claims of alleged heirs

Florida readers may remember the iconic 2007 SuperBowl halftime performance of Prince in 2007. For those who weren't there and haven't seen it, a visit to YouTube may be in order. For Prince fans, the performance is a perfect example of the energy, creativity and commitment Prince had for his art. As committed as Prince was to his career as an artist, though, he did not take much thought for estate planning.

Since Prince's death last April, there has been a struggle to determine exactly who should inherit the star's wealth, estimated to be worth about $200 million. At the time of his death, Prince had no will, and no children or wife. Under Minnesota law, as in other states, those who die without a will still have an estate plan, but that estate plan is determined by default rules of intestate succession. 

Under Minnesota law, property not disposed of by will--with the exception of homestead, family allowances, and exempt property as defined under state law--passes to surviving family members according to an established order of priority. Florida law is slightly different, but follow the same basic pattern.

In Prince's case, the judge rejected several claims from individuals allegedly related to him. Because of these claims, determination of heirs has not been able to move forward. The appeals process connected with those claims must first be exhausted. At this point, though, it looks like Prince's sister Tyka Nelson and five half-siblings are likely to be the rightful heirs.  Commentators on the case say that challenges are ahead for the estate given the distrust between Prince's surviving siblings.

In our next post, we'll look briefly at how intestate succession works here in Florida, and the importance of estate planning in taking control of the disposition of one's assets.


ABC News, "Judge: Appeals Holding Up Prince Estate Determination," Steve Karnowski, Jan. 12, 2017.

USA Today, Comerica Bank to oversee Prince's estate, estimated at $200 M, Jan. 24, 2017.

2016 Minnesota Statutes, 524.2-101

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