Aretha Franklin had no will or trust at the time of her death

Posted on: August 22, 2018

A will is one of the best gifts you can leave for your loved ones in the event of your death.  The lack of a will or trust makes Aretha Franklin’s estate far more complicated and expensive than it has to be.

By making a will, you ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes, and you will also spare your loved ones from unnecessary trouble in the administration of your estate. If you pass away without making a will, your estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy and persons to whom you may not intend to give anything may be entitled to a portion of your estate.  Furthermore, without a will, you miss the only opportunity you have to appoint a trusted person as executor to administer your estate.  Laws vary considerably from state to state, but in general, if you die and leave a spouse and children, your assets will be split between them.  If you’re single with no children, then the state is likely to decide who among your blood relatives will inherit your estate.  It is a good idea to periodically review your will.  Estate tax rules can change on an annual basis, and there most likely are other reasons for changing your will such as the addition of children, an increase in net worth, or a different view on who your beneficiaries should be or who should now serve as guardians, executors and trustees.  Neglecting to update your will could be a costly error.

When legendary singer Aretha Franklin died, she did not have a will or trust. Her four sons have filed a document listing themselves as interested parties, reports say.  Franklin died last week from advanced pancreatic cancer. She was 76.  In addition to her sons’ filing, Franklin’s niece has asked the court to appoint her as a personal representative of the estate, the Detroit Free Press reported. It said under Michigan law, if an unmarried person dies without a will, his or her assets are divided equally among any children.

Franklin’s lawyer has represented her in entertainment matters for nearly three decades and told the paper that he constantly asked her to do a trust, but she never got around to it.

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Posted in: Blog | Estate Planning