Judge Rules: You Have to Be a Sibling to Inherit Prince's Wealth

By George Khoury, Esq. on May 26, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The rightful heirs to estate of the late artist, Prince, have finally been identified by a Minnesota probate court over a year after his death. However, before they can collect, the rightful heirs are required to wait an additional year for appeals by those who were rejected as heirs. This means that additional heirs could potentially be named, though it is not expected.

While it is not unusual for celebrity deaths to result in multiple claims to the deceased's estate, Prince's death resulted in over 40 different claims. Many of which, such as the one from an incarcerated fellow in Colorado, were disproved using DNA tests. Last week, the judge ruled that Prince's six siblings will split the $200 million estate.

Royal Fumble of Prince's Estate

Shortly after Prince's estate was placed into the hands of an administrator, a deal was signed between the estate and Universal Music Group. However, recently, papers filed with the court show that both the estate and Universal are attempting to cancel the deal. As it turns out, the former administrator misrepresented their ability to sell the rights to Prince's pre-1995 music, as it was still under an exclusive deal with Warner until 2021.

It is expected that Prince's post-1995 work, which is also the subject of this fumbled deal, will likely end up going to auction. When Warner's exclusivity expires, the heirs will be able to auction off the pre-1995 rights.

Who Can Inherit?

Prince's death shocked the world, and likely also shocked the superstar himself, as he died without a will. When a person passes without leaving instructions on how to divide the property they leave behind, it is left to the probate court to decide who should inherit. Probate law varies from state to state.

Typically, when someone dies without a will, the order of inheritance, in most states, is as follows: spouse, children, parent, sibling, grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins. Basically, a court will move down the line until an heir is found. If there are multiple heirs in a category, such as more than one child, then the estate is usually split evenly between all of the heirs.

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