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Prince Estate: Sister, Five Half-Siblings Named Heirs

Estate also asks that $31 million Universal Music Group deal be rescinded

A Minnesota judge ruled Friday that Prince's sister and five half-siblings are the rightful heirs to the music icon's $200 million estate. Credit: John Leyba/Denver Post

A Minnesota judge ruled Friday that Prince's sister and five half-siblings are the rightful heirs to the music icon's estate, worth an estimated $200 million.

Prince's sister Tyka Nelson as well as half-siblings Sharon Nelson, Norrine Nelson, John R. Nelson, Omarr Baker and Alfred Jackson were officially declared as the singer's heirs after Prince died in April 2016 without a will. 

Tyka, Sharon, Norrine and John Nelson were on the initial list of six potential heirs that Carver County Judge Kevin Eide named in July 2016; Brianna Nelson and Victoria Nelson, who claimed to be Prince's niece and grandniece and were also on that initial list, have since had their claims rejected as a matter of law.

In the aftermath of Prince's death, more than 45 people came forward as potential heirs to his estate, with many claiming to be a wife, child, sibling or other relative, the Associated Press reports. Those alleged heirs included a Colorado inmate who claimed to be Prince's son, which a DNA test ruled out.

Those denied heir status have a year to appeal the judge's ruling; until that time, none of Prince's rightful heirs will be able to receive their share of his $200 million estate, although nearly half of that total will go towards taxes.

Lawyers for the siblings named heirs argued that waiting another year would impede their ability to properly manage his estate.

The infighting and miscommunication between heirs and the estate's current executors, including the estate's former entertainment advisor, L. Londell McMillan, was highlighted on Friday after the estate requested that the $31 million publishing deal it brokered with Universal Music Group be rescinded.

Earlier this month, Universal asked that their deal with the Prince estate, which included the singer's post-1995 catalog and unreleased music from Prince's stacked musical vaults, be canceled after the major label learned that Warner Bros. still owned the U.S. rights to Prince's pre-1995 catalog until 2021.

The Universal deal was brokered by the estate's then-administrator Bremer Trust and McMillan; after the contract was signed, Comerica Bank took over the administration role and appointed Spotify's Troy Carter as adviser.

In asking to rescind the contract, Comerica Bank acknowledged that Bremer Trust "sold rights to [Universal] that [Warner Bros.] already holds" and that they could "cannot unequivocally assure [Universal] or the court that no overlap exists," Billboard reports.

If the deal is rescinded, the rights to Prince's post-1995 work would go to auction. A judge will decide whether to void the contract at a May 31st court date.