When Aretha Franklin died on August 16, 2018, she left behind a litany of musical memories for her fans. But one thing she forgot to leave behind was a Will.
Variety reported that the “Queen of Soul” — who died at the age of 76 of pancreatic cancer — had no Will designating who will benefit from her estate. In her home state of Michigan, if an unmarried person with children dies intestate, each surviving child receives an equal amount of the decedent’s assets. In this case, Ms. Franklin’s four sons filed documents in court listing themselves as interested parties and acknowledged the absence of a Will, while their cousin requested to be the personal representative of Ms. Franklin’s estate.
Don Wilson, who was Ms. Franklin’s entertainment attorney for nearly 30 years, told the Detroit Free Press that he urged his client to set up a trust in order to avoid probate and any possible family infighting. Mr. Wilson also handled the estate of the late Ike Turner, who died in 2007; like Ms. Franklin, Ike Turner did not leave a Will and his estate is still being contested.
Although Mr. Wilson could not determine the value of Ms. Franklin’s estate, People estimated her estate to be worth $80 million. However, Aretha Franklin’s estate is not the largest estate of musicians without a Will. The three most valuable music superstars to die intestate include Kurt Cobain ($450 million), Prince ($300 million), and Jimi Hendrix ($175 million), according to CNBC.
If you have yet to draft a will and you still wish to ensure that you pass on your assets to your children, it is important that you contact an attorney today. The attorneys at Hobson-Williams, P.C. are here to assist you with all aspects of wills, trusts and estate planning. Contact our office at (718) 210-4744 to schedule your consultation today.