Brianna and Victoria Nelson were among six possible heirs left after a judge threw out 30 individual claims to Prince’s estate in July. Because Prince left no apparent will, Carver Country District Judge Kevin Eide has been sorting out the musician’s estate.
At the time, Judge Eide ruled that Brianna and Victoria Nelson had presented a plausible enough case to be considered heirs and did not have to undergo genetic testing. Brianna and Victoria, however, have not claimed a genetic connection to Prince, and instead trace their relationship to him through Duane Nelson, Sr., who died in 2011 and was supposedly Prince’s half-brother. According to the Nelsons, both Prince and his biological father considered Duane a son and brother.
While Prince’s siblings are using the lack of a genetic connection as part of their argument, they also said the relationship itself had no merit under Minnesota law. They argued that a parent-child relationship must be validated through genetics, adoption, assisted reproduction or an established presumption of parentage laws.
“If an heirship claim could rely on behavior alone as a basis, it would open the floodgates to individuals claiming they were treated ‘like a brother’ or ‘like a son,'” attorneys for Prince’s siblings wrote. They added that the Nelsons are asking the court “to casually sweep aside these well-established tenets of Minnesota law and instead seek to base their claim entirely on behavioral and anecdotal evidence.”
Minnesota law does offer some leeway for defining a parent-child relationship, including someone informally raising a non-biological child as their own. But the law does not offer many specifics, leaving it to the judge to decide whether Brianna and Victoria Nelson are rightful heirs. A hearing on the issue is scheduled for Friday.
Prince died in April of a fatal drug overdose. Investigators are currently looking into whether doctors illegally prescribed the pop star opioids or whether the Fentanyl that killed him came from black market sources.