Questions Loom After It’s Revealed That Aretha Franklin Didn’t Have A Will When She Died

The Queen of Soul was laid to rest this past Friday in Detroit. But, unfortunately, her finances are far from finding peace. Though Aretha Franklin was terminally ill with pancreatic cancer, the 75-year-old music icon and legend passed away without a will. 

Don Wilson, Aretha’s entertainment lawyer, said:

I tried to convince her that she should do not just a will but a trust while she was still alive. She never told me, ‘No, I don’t want to do one.’ She understood the need. It just didn’t seem to be something she got around to.

Aretha Franklin joins the likes of Prince, who also died without a will. Kenneth Abdo is an attorney who specializes in probate law, and he has worked on the Prince estate. He said that the IRS will conduct an audit of Franklin’s assets, including property in the Detroit area that is worth at least $2 million, and the royalties to the songs that she wrote. 

Her estate is estimated to be worth tens of millions. Valuing it properly could take years — and could become very public.

Wilson said Franklin wouldn’t like public scrutiny of her finances:

She was a private person.

Michigan law states that Franklin’s estate must be divided equally among her children since she was not married. She left behind four sons between the ages of 48 and 63: Clarence Franklin, Edward Franklin, Kecalf Franklin, and Ted White Jr. The eldest, Clarence, is disabled and is represented by a guardian. One of her nieces has accepted the role of executor.

The news surprised fans.

Many people worried about the financial battles that lie ahead for her family.

But others hoped to honor Aretha’s wishes to keep things private.

We hope her family can divide her estate quickly and privately.

H/T: HuffPost, The Guardian