Aretha Franklin’s Estate Had No RESPECT

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Aretha Franklin's Estate Plan Issues

You Gotta Think! Think About What You Want to Estate Plan

Aretha Franklin had huge hits that are as timely now as ever. These huge hits helped her amass substantial wealth and a legacy to leave. Sadly, when she died in 2018 what she didn’t have was a last will and testament. Despite her many musical recordings, no will was legally recorded in her name.

After her death, her family unearthed two different handwritten notes. One was notarized and one with her signature. Her four houses, her cars, money, and other assets were unable to be divided to her four children. There were two separate documents (one found under her sofe) with conflicting dictates. Franklin’s estate went into a five-year legal battle over how to proceed. The Franklin family’s situation illustrates that it’s not enough to put your wishes in writing. You must be sure they are implemented, too.

Even Celebrities Need Estate Plans

This case underscores the importance of proper estate planning. While no one likes to talk about death, taking the time to plan for how your assets will be distributed after your death is essential. Doing so will alleviate legal challenges and fees, family dissension and tension, not to mention wasted time.

The solution to such a situation is straightforward. Work with a team of specialists and your legal advisor to help ensure that your will reflects your intent while avoiding any legal restrictions. If you have such a team in place in advance, they will be familiar with each other, your estate assets and your will.

History is filled with examples of celebrities who died without a will: Bob Marley, Prince, Howard Hughes, Pablo Picasso, Jimi Hendrix and even Abraham Lincoln. This longtime legal dispute involving Aretha Franklin’s estate illustrates the importance of a formal estate plan. While you may not have the same assets as the “Queen of Soul,” you still want to make sure it goes where you want it to.