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NEW YORK: A Minnesota judge ruled on Friday that Prince’s six siblings are the heirs to his estate, a key step in the long battle over the pop legend’s fortune.

Kevin Eide, the judge in Carver County where Prince died suddenly last year at his Paisley Park estate, said that the Purple Rain star’s heirs were his sister Tyka Nelson and five half-siblings.

In practical terms, the ruling will not immediately hand over Prince’s fortune — which is estimated to be worth up to $300 million — to his siblings.

Instead, it starts a one-year process in which people who claim to be related to Prince can still make their appeals, but be definitively excluded if the judge does not accept their case.

The ruling comes nine days after a hearing in which the siblings pressed for a resolution, and after months of sometimes colourful claims by people who say they are Prince’s descendants.

Among the claims received by the court were one from a woman who said she had a secret wedding to Prince in Las Vegas, and a little-known musician who alleged that Prince agreed on a tour bus to hand him his whole estate. The pop legend died at Paisley Park in April last year from an accidental overdose of powerful painkillers.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2017