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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

Ruling made on alleged Prince estate heirs

As our Saint Paul, Minnesota readers, this blog has been following the ongoing development of the court battle over the estate of the late rocker, Prince. The case, which is being argued in a Minnesota court, is an opportunity to see how Minnesota probate courts apply the laws of this state to cases in which a deceased person has not left a will.

The most recent post on this blog discussed how two alleged heirs, although admittedly not biologically related, had argued as part of the probate litigation that they should be treated as Prince's relatives since Prince's father treated their father as if the latter were a son.

In support of their argument, they referred to a decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court in which a man had apparently treated another man as his son, even though it may have turned out they were not related. The older man had even pled guilty to a charge of having the boy out of wedlock, many years ago when such criminal provisions were still enforced.

The judge overseeing the Prince estate, however, rejected this argument. The judge concluded that in this case, there was little more than mutual affection between Prince's father and the father of those claiming to be heirs, whereas in the prior case, the two parties involved believed they were related biologically, with one even admitting as much in court.

Moreover, the judge in the Prince case held Minnesota law, for purposes of inheritances without a will, only acknowledges "children" as biological, adoptive, or, in some cases, in another special legal relationship with the "parent" as spelled out in the law. Two people treating each other as relatives out of affection, the court concluded, is simply not enough.

One other purported heir has been given until almost the end of November to provide evidence to support his case.

Source: TwinCities.com, "Minnesota judge rejects Prince heir claim from woman and girl," Oct. 26, 2016.

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