Prince’s death, Day 12; Still no will, hearing lasts only minutes – USA TODAY

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Attorneys are tackling the complicated job of dividing up Prince’s estate. The superstar musician was found dead on April 21 at Paisley Park, his famous home and recording studio in suburban Minneapolis.

The latest on the investigation into the singer’s death, his estate and tributes:

11:45 am ET: Now what? What happens next in the effort to settle Prince’s murky estate?

Now that the temporary special administrator, Bremer Trust, National Association, has been appointed, the bank will be on the hunt for his will, if there is one; for his heirs, if there are other potential descendants out there still unknown; and for his assets — real estate, bank accounts, music royalties, unreleased music, etc.

Estate lawyers say the next hearing, as yet unscheduled, in the case may be one to appoint a permanent administrator. Or, the bank may want to make interim reports to District Judge Kevin Eide, who is overseeing the case, about what has been found so far.

“Typically what happens next is that the special administrator has to go about identifying and getting control over Prince’s assets — that is the number one task,” says Los Angeles estate lawyer Jeffrey Eisen. “Between his death (on April 21) and Monday, no one had control, which is obviously not a good situation. Now the administrator has a court order that says, ‘you’re in charge.'”

He said the bank will be looking in places where a will might have been kept, and calling all the lawyers who might have done work for Prince in the past. “Although the truth is, if any did know about a will they likely would have come forward by now,” Eisen says.

Meanwhile, more potential heirs (besides the six siblings already named in probate documents so far) will likely turn up, says Long Island estate lawyer Jerry Reisman.

In fact, the bank filed a motion Monday to dismiss a claim by someone named Rodney Herachio Dixon, who has sought to intervene in the estate case by declaring himself the “sole and exclusive owner of all intellectual properties” of Prince. The bank said the man’s claim is “frivolous” and the estate must be protected against such claims.

“The income (from Prince’s music) has already surged since his death — millions and millions of dollars earned by the estate, and everyone wants to get a piece of it, not just the heirs but their lawyers,” says Reisman.

Among those who might turn up in coming weeks are people claiming to be Prince’s child — say, the product of a one-night stand, says Eisen. If such a person exists and can prove that Prince was his or her father, then that could insert even more tension into the effort to settle Prince’s estate.

“If there is a child out there, (he or she) would get 100% of the estate and every one of the siblings would get zero,” Eisen says. “So the siblings and their lawyers will be trying to prove the child is not a child of Prince.”

Despite reports that the siblings themselves are already squabbling, Frank Wheaton, the attorney for one of Prince’s half-brothers, Alfred Jackson, who was at Monday’s hearing, denied it in interviews with reporters after the hearing.

Although Jackson and Prince hadn’t spoke for years, Wheaton said the late superstar had always been “courteous and loving” to his siblings.

Wheaton declined to comment to USA TODAY about other potential heirs as yet unnamed who might come forward.

It would not be surprising to see the legal proceedings over Prince’s estate last for the next several years, says Judith Younger,  a University of Minnesota law professor with an expertise in wills and trusts. Michael Jackson’s estate is still in a legal fight with the IRS over his worth at the time of his death in 2009, and he died with a will in place, she said.

Younger said it’s likely that there will be similar issues with the IRS in this case.

“The kinds of assets that Prince has —  don’t know what’s in that vault, but I assume there are songs and there are intellectual property copyrights to them — are hard to value,” she said. “So there will be ordinary value disputes.”

The process will be smoother if all the siblings work together and avoid litigation, Younger said.

10: 25 a.m. ET: CHASKA, Minn. — The first hearing to sort out Prince’s estate ended within minutes Monday, and the judge said there is still no will.

District Court Judge Kevin Eide formally appointed Prince’s longtime bank, Bremer Trust, National Association, as the special administrator to oversee probate on Prince’s estate.

All known potential heirs except one were at the hearing, but the judge said no will has yet been found or presented.

Eide said he’s not ruling yet that there is no will, just that one has not been found yet.

“None of us has a crystal ball,” Eide said of how the probate case will work. “None of us know what claims will be made.”

Tyka Nelson, Prince’s sole full sister, left the courthouse but said nothing to reporters.

Same for other potential heirs, including half-sisters Norrine and Sharon Nelson.

Some 10 lawyers representing various participants made appearances in the courtroom. Judge Eide did not set another hearing date.

9:30 a.m. ET:  As potential heirs to Prince’s estate arrived at the courthouse here, probate court officials told reporters it could be a routine matter that lasts as little as 10 minutes.

On the other hand, nothing is routine about this first court hearing to sort out Prince’s estate, after the beloved musician died suddenly April 21 apparently without making a will or an estate plan, according to his sister, Tyka Nelson.

Nelson sought the hearing last week, saying she had no knowledge of a will. Thus, the hearing is aimed at determining the size, contents and assets of Prince’s estate, the identity of his potential heirs, and how the estate will be divided among them.

But court officials said these initial estate hearings tend to be routine.

Meanwhile, as the media lined up in a hallway, Tyka Nelson arrived, her long hair scrubbed of the pink/purple color it showed when she appeared outside Paisley Park after her brother died to greet grieving fans.

Alfred Jackson, one of Prince’s five half-siblings, also was expected at the hearing, according to what his lawyer, Frank Wheaton, told USA TODAY last week. Jackson, 62, was one of the potential heirs, named by Nelson in her petition to appoint a special administrator of the estate.

No cameras were allowed in the courtroom and reporters were instructed to turn off their cellphones and other devices.

Prince’s death, Day 12; Still no will, hearing lasts only minutes – USA TODAY

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