More than a dozen lawyers gathered in a Carver County courtroom Friday to dissect Minnesota law and try to convince District Court Judge Kevin Eide that three people who aren't genetically related to Prince are entitled to a share of his estate — or not.
Attorneys for Brianna Nelson, Victoria Nelson and Corey Simmons argued that the Minnesota Parentage Act and Probate Code don't require a genetic relationship between father and child for that child to inherit in cases where a will doesn't exist.
"There are multiple ways for a person to establish that they are an heir to an estate," said Celiza Braganca, Brianna Nelson's attorney.
Attorneys for Prince's sister and half-siblings — who have already been flagged as heirs by Eide — disagreed. Tom Kane, attorney for half-brother Omarr Baker, argued that although Minnesota law provides exceptions to genetic lineage for cases such as adoption and assisted reproduction, it does not cover the kind of relationship that Brianna and Victoria Nelson and Simmons claim to the famed musician.
They say that Duane Nelson — Brianna and Corey's father and Victoria's grandfather — was treated like a son by Prince's father, John L. Nelson, making him a half-brother to Prince.
That's not enough, Kane said.
"They cannot inherit," he said. "It's over. It's done."
Prince died of an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl on April 21. No will has been found, so Minnesota law governs the distribution of his estate, which has been valued at $100 million to $300 million before taxes.
Brianna and Victoria's attorneys aren't asking at this point for a ruling on whether their clients can inherit, but rather for an opportunity to present evidence of a father-son relationship between John and Duane in court.
Eide took the arguments under advisement and said he will rule on whether to allow that evidence "very, very quickly."