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Judge in Prince case wants solid foundation for vetting heirs

When Prince passed away earlier this year, much of the world paused. He was an iconic musician whose work influenced people of broad age ranges and backgrounds. Unfortunately, the pop icon's name hasn't been allowed to rest in peace due in part to the fact that he left no known will behind. His estate has been in the news since his death as potential heirs scramble to make claims and the courts and trustees attempt to live up to their duties.

The most recent episodes involving Prince's estate have to do with identifying heirs. Not surprisingly, a number of people have stepped forward claiming to be related to the pop musician. So far, one person claims to be his sister and five other people claim to be half siblings. Other claims are reportedly in the works.

The judge in the case wants a solid protocol for determining which claimants will be recognized as true heirs. He has asked lawyers in the case to provide written responses on the matter, including their position on how DNA testing in the case might integrate with existing parentage and probate laws. The judge notes that the case is complex for a number of reasons, so he doesn't want to rush into decisions about any of the matters.

The law does provide for some protection of heirs even when a will isn't present, but leaving a will can help ensure matters don't become as complex as they have in this case. Even if you aren't a pop icon with a bevy of potential heirs, your estate could become difficult for heirs if plans are not made in advance.

Source: Billboard, "Prince Estate Lawyers Get Deadline to Weigh In On DNA Tests," June 28, 2016

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