By Chelsea Lenora White
Prince was tragically found dead in an elevator at his Paisley Park compound in 2016, and in the wake of his unexpected passing, nearly 700 men and women are trying to get a piece of the fortune he left behind – rumored to be nearing $1 billion.
Investigator Harvey Morse may be primarily responsible for this jaw-dropping number because his family-run business of genealogical investigators placed an ad offering a finder’s fee for any long-lost Prince relatives they discover.
“ARE YOU RELATED TO PRINCE?” said the ad that appeared in the Minden Press-Herald days after he died. It was seeking people in Louisiana who may have been related to Prince’s father, John L. Nelson, and listed other known relatives, per TheWrap.
Morse is the chairman of Morse Genealogical Services. His nephew, company president Ari Morse, told TheWrap that the number of people calling, faxing and e-mailing that they may be related to Prince grows by the hour.
“Our phone has been ringing off the hook, I would say we have received between 600 and 700 calls,” Harvey Morse said. “‘They run the gamut, literally from ‘We lived in the same area so we must be related’, to ‘We have pictures of Prince at our family reunion.’ “
He added that some of the calls have “interesting potential.”
“It’s similar to triage,” Morse said. “We have the ones that we think have very interesting potential, the ones not so much, the ones that probably don’t have any. It’s nothing that has to be done with any great amount of hurry or fervor. The probate court process is not a speedy one.”
Despite the overwhelming number of calls, claimants must provide solid proof of their alleged blood-relationship to late music icon.
“I like official documents,’ Harvey said. “Birth, marriage, death, divorce certificates, census records, that sort of thing – papers that were drawn up without any thought of this eventuality.”
Prince is known to have one full sister, Tyka Nelson and five half-brothers and sisters. Of his half siblings, two are dead. Duane Nelson has a surviving granddaughter, Victoria who is entitled to her share of the estate, while Lorna Nelson died without having children.
This article originally appeared in the Houston Forward Times.