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Is blood always thicker than water?

When Prince died earlier this year, he left a void the music world will never be able to fill. The pop superstar also left a void when it came to carrying out his final wishes, leaving no will or estate plan.

The Associated Press notes that the late singer-songwriter's sister and 5 half-siblings are expected to be named his heirs within several months as a probate court wrestles with the division of his considerable assets. 

The singer lived and died in Paisley Park, a sprawling complex near Minneapolis that included his home, recording studios and business headquarters. The AP reports that a wrinkle in Minnesota probate law might allow non-blood relatives to persuade the court to give them a slice of an estate valued at between $100 million and $300 million.

In Minnesota, a person can be considered a parent based on their relationship with a child who is not a blood relative, such as when someone raises a non-biological child. In the Prince case, that unique feature of the law comes into play because of the late Duane Nelson Jr., who was reportedly Prince's half-brother.

Duane might not have been biologically linked to the singer, however. Despite that, Duane was apparently raised by John L. Nelson, Prince's father. That relationship might be enough to establish Duane's link to Prince, and thereby pave the way for three claims by people related by blood to Duane to be acknowledged by the court as heirs to the Prince fortune.

The AP figures that Duane's share of the estate could be one-seventh of the total value, and that the three claimants would then split that slice. If we use the low-end value for the estate ($100 million), it would mean each of the three would be due approximately $4.7 million.

Anyone facing the prospect of probate should discuss their circumstances and legal options with an experienced Queens probate attorney.

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