Nearly two dozen attorneys descended on a Minnesota courtroom Monday morning to attend a hearing that will establish procedures to determine the heirs to Prince’s $300 million fortune. In the absence of a will outlining clear beneficiaries, the estate has been bombarded with claims of varying credibility.
The legendary musician, who died on April 21 of an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl, had no biological children, but left behind a sister and at least five half-siblings – although many others have come forward claiming to be blood relations.
The proceedings began at 8:30 a.m. local time on Monday in Chaska, a Minneapolis suburb. Carver County Judge Kevin Eide closed the courtroom to cameras, microphones and sketch artists, expressing that the state forbids such coverage of paternity-related cases. Bremer Trust, the firm representing Prince s estate, admitted this move was also to prevent “sensitive family histories [being] broadcast to the world.”
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According to the StarTribune, the first hour of the hearing was spent discussing genetic testing procedures. “This case is perhaps unique in the state of Minnesota,” Eide said in his opening statements. “In many ways, we are in unchartered water here.”
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Bremer Trust attorney David Crosby told Judge Eide that an exhaustive search through thousands of boxes of documents has failed to uncover a will. “We’ve looked under every box lid,” he said. “The inquiry is coming to a close very soon.”
Judge Eide said that he may forward the difficult questions regarding genetic testing to a higher court, which would delay a final decision on how to proceed in dividing up the estate.
Five of Prince’s six surviving siblings were present at the hearing.