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Judge Finally Determines Lawful Heirs of Prince Estate

A judge has at last determined the lawful heirs of Prince’s estate.

In an order filed Thursday (May 18), Carver County District Court Judge Kevin Eide officially found that the singer’s six siblings — his sister, Tyka Nelson; two half-sisters, Sharon Nelson and Norrine Nelson; and three half-brothers, Omarr Baker, John R. Nelson and Alfred Jackson — are the lawful heirs to the estate, reportedly valued around $200 million, reports Billboard.

The determination, which comes 13 months after the musician’s sudden death on April 21, 2016, means that other potential heirs will have one year to come forward to have their claims considered by the court.

The filing also affirms that former estate special advisor L. Londell McMillan will serve as the business advisor to three of the heirs: John R. Nelson, Sharon Nelson and Norrine Nelson.

McMillan will advise those clients on entertainment industry agreements, except for amendments or renegotiations of such agreements the estate entered prior to Jan. 31, 2017.

Additionally, McMillan’s motion to intervene in hearings involving the estate’s deal with Universal Music Group has been denied, while a motion to quash a subpoena on McMillan was granted.


Prince’s relationship with his family was never simple. His parents had children from several marriages, and over the years these eight brothers and sisters fell in and out of favor with their famous family member. Now, following Prince’s unexpected death at age 57, those little-known siblings — his heirs — suddenly find themselves in the public eye.

Prince’s parents, John L. Nelson and Mattie Della Shaw, are both dead, and Prince has no wife or living children. His estate has entered probate proceedings, and unless a will surfaces, under Minnesota law his estate would be split equally between his parents’ other children, including his half-siblings.

John and Mattie met in 1956. Both were jazz musicians, and both had children from a previous marriage — John had four, Mattie had one. John and Mattie had two children together: Prince and Tyka. Like his character in Purple Rain, “The Kid,” Prince clashed with his father — he eventually moved in with his friend André Cymone’s family to get away from John, though the two later reconciled and even collaborated on several of Prince’s songs during the ‘80s, including Purple Rain’s “Computer Blue” — which includes a portion of another collaboration, “Father’s Song,” which is the gentle piano ballad Prince’s father’s character is seen playing in the film. (Unlike The Kid’s mother, however, Mattie was African-American.)

Prince’s parents did not have a smooth married life. John and first wife, Vivian, had a fifth child in 1959 — a year after Prince was born, and a year before Tyka was born. After a period of estrangement, Prince’s parents divorced in 1966. Mattie eventually remarried and had another son.

In total, then, Prince had eight siblings: one full sister, three half-sisters, and four half-brothers. Two of those siblings — a half-brother and a half-sister — died before Prince. That still leaves six relatives with claims to Prince’s estate — at present.

Prince lawful heirs
Tyka Nelson

Tyka Nelson 
— Born in 1960, two years after Prince, Tyka is the artist’s only full sibling: She too is the daughter of John L. Nelson and Mattie Della Shaw, who divorced in 1966 and are both deceased.
— Tyka released a well-publicized album, Royal Blue, in 1988, with a single, “Marc Anthony’s Tune,” (named for an imaginary boyfriend) that reached No. 33 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. According to a People feature at the time, she appeared “ready to explore new frontiers of eccentricity” and was accompanied by “a stuffed dinosaur she keeps on a leash and hugs during interviews” who she called “Jazz.”
— Tyka battled drug addiction for years, a topic she addressed on songs like “Touch from Heaven” on her 2008 album A Brand New Me, With Prince’s help, she completed an inpatient stay at Hazelden, the highly regarded Minnesota treatment center, in 2003.

Prince lawful heirs
Sharon L. Nelson

Sharon L. Nelson 
— Born in 1940, Sharon is Prince’s half-sister. She’s the oldest of John L. Nelson’s five children from his first marriage to Vivian Nelson.
— Sharon is a musician who released a 2009 album, 57th Street Sound, according to her Myspace page. She also co-produced her father’s 1994 EP, Father’s Song.
— From 2009 to 2011, Nelson hosted a podcast that included an episode called “Three Generations of Music by the Nelsons,” which discussed the music of Prince and his father.

Lorna Nelson
— Born in 1943, Prince’s half-sister Lorna was the third and youngest daughter of Prince’s father John L. Nelson and his first wife, Vivian. Lorna died in 2006 at age 63, leaving no children behind.
— Lorna filed an unsuccessful copyright infringement suit against Prince in 1987, claiming that the lyrics to his hit “U Got the Look” were lifted from her own unpublished song, “What’s Cooking in This Book.”
— In 2001, following the death of John L. Nelson, Lorna challenged Prince’s handling of their father’s estate, according to the Star Tribune, saying he had significantly undervalued it. The dispute was eventually settled.

Prince lawful heirs
Norrine P. Nelson

Norrine P. Nelson
— Prince’s half-sister Norrine is the second-oldest daughter of John L. and Vivian Nelson. She was born in 1942.
— Norrine lives in Minneapolis. Little other information about her is publicly available.

John R. Nelson
— Prince’s half-brother John is oldest son of John L. and Vivian Nelson. He was born in 1944.
— John is the only living Prince sibling who did not attend the first probate court hearing on the Prince estate on May 2.
— He lives in Kansas City.

Prince lawful heirs
Alfred Jackson

Alfred Jackson 
— Prince’s half-brother Alfred is Mattie Shaw’s son from a previous marriage. He is 63 years old and lives in Kansas City with his brother John, his attorney, Frank Wheaton told the Associated Press.
— A Vietnam veteran who was drafted at the age of 17, Alfred was admitted to a St. Cloud, Minnesota, V.A. hospital upon his discharge from the U.S. Air Force.
— Alfred is the only Prince sibling to speak at length with the media. He gave an interview with Entertainment Tonight shortly after Prince’s death, saying he had not seen or spoken with Prince for almost 15 years, a fact his attorney later disputed.

Duane Nelson
— Born in 1959, Duane was the youngest child of John and L. Vivian Nelson, He died in 2011.
— Duane served as Prince’s security chief at Paisley Park for many years. But their relationship soured and Prince apparently fired Duane from his position, according to Star Tribune columnist C.J., who also learned from Duane that his famous brother had filed a restraining order against him.
— Duane is the only known sibling of Prince who was not listed on the documents Tyka Nelson’s lawyers filed in Prince’s probate case, a situation possibly related to their apparent estrangement. The filings also omit Duane’s daughter Brianna and his granddaughter Victoria Nelson, whose father, Duane Jr., died in 2005. Mentioned in Duane Sr.’s Star Tribune obituary, Brianna and Victoria could inherit their father’s share of the estate in his stead under Minnesota law.

Prince lawful heirs
Omarr Baker

Omarr Baker 
— Born in 1970. Omarr (pictured above) is the son of Prince’s mother, Mattie, and her second husband, Hayward Baker.
–Omarr lives in Golden Valley, a suburb of Minneapolis, in a home owned by Prince.


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Phyllis Coley
Phyllis D. Coley is CEO/Publisher of Spectacular Magazine and Host of Spectacular Magazine Radio Show. With a B.A. in English from NCCU, the Durham native began her professional career as Promotions/Marketing Director for New York City’s WKTU-FM. While at the radio station, Coley discovered the rap group Kid ‘n Play and managed them for five years, guiding their music and movie careers to success. Moving back to Durham, Coley produced a nationally syndicated television show, The Electric Factory, while working as News Director for FOXY 107/104. In April 2002, recognizing a void in highlighting the achievements of African Americans, she started her own business publishing ACE Magazine. Coley launched Spectacular Magazine in November 2004. Recognizing the lack of pertinent and truthful information, Coley began Spectacular Magazine Radio Show in March 2009. Coley is the organizer of Durham's Annual MLK/Black History Month Parade and the Annual North Carolina Juneteenth Celebration. She currently serves on Central Children’s Home Board of Directors, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Advisors, as Immediate Past Secretary of the Durham Rotary Club Board of Directors and is one of the founding members of the Triangle United Way’s African American Leadership Initiative.

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