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Judge rejects claim to Prince estate from woman and girl

Associated Press logo Associated Press 27/10/2016
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A Minnesota judge ruled Wednesday that a woman and girl who claim to be Prince's niece and grandniece will not be considered heirs to the late music superstar's estate.

Carver County Judge Kevin Eide ruled that Brianna Nelson and her niece, Victoria Nelson, are excluded as Prince's heirs as a matter of law.

The decision means the pair won't share in an estate that some experts projected could be worth up to $300 million in the wake of Prince's death April 21 of a fentanyl overdose.

Brianna and Victoria Nelson claimed descent from the late Duane Nelson Sr., who they say was a half-brother to Prince. Court documents indicate Prince's father was not Duane's biological father.

The Nelsons argued Minnesota law allowed for a claim because Prince's father, John L. Nelson, long treated Duane Nelson as his son.

FILE - In this May 19, 2013 file photo, Prince performs at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. A Minnesota judge ruled Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016, that a woman and girl who claim to be Prince's niece and grandniece will not be considered heirs to the late music superstar's estate. Carver County Judge Kevin Eide ruled that Brianna Nelson and her niece, Victoria Nelson, are excluded as Prince's heirs as a matter of law. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File): Prince performs at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.  © Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP Prince performs at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.  They cited a 2003 case in which the Minnesota Supreme Court agreed with a claim involving a longstanding father-son relationship in which the older man had pleaded guilty in 1959 to the crime of "illegitimacy" in the younger man's birth, then treated the younger man as a son for many years.

Eide rejected that argument. He said that the earlier case implied a genetic relationship. He also said revisions to Minnesota probate law since the 2003 decision now require that parent-child relationships may be established only by genetics, adoption, assisted reproduction or a presumed relationship that was legally established before death.

In his ruling, the judge said "there is no case law in Minnesota, or, to the Court's knowledge, anywhere in the United States 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."

Andrew Stoltmann, an attorney for the Nelsons, declined to comment.

The judge said another man — Corey Simmons — who claims to be Prince's nephew via his descent from Duane Nelson has until Nov. 25 to provide evidence for his claim. If he doesn't, he'll also be excluded as an heir.

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