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.
Aretha Franklin's lawyer says he “tried to convince her” to make a will before her death. https://t.co/3NOmPuwsK1
— Entertainment Tonight (@etnow) September 3, 2018
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.
— Hold Your Head Up (@HYHUTriangle) September 3, 2018
How do you get to that age and success and not have a will.
— Jason (@J_bynder) September 3, 2018
I still don't understand how she allowed this after watching Prince's family and business troubles. They both fought hard in life to keep what belonged to them. Why they both didn't think that their legacies wouldn't need to be protected once they passed on is mind boggling
— Pernell Cruzado (@sweetpb) September 3, 2018
— WaterBluSky (@MsMariaT) September 1, 2018
Many people worried about the financial battles that lie ahead for her family.
Here comes 10 year fight for her money only to come away with $100
— ron (@mightyronster) September 2, 2018
Too bad. Her lack of foresight will mean Uncle Sam will be the biggest benificiary of her estate.
— SWillis-Koontz (@SWKoontz) September 2, 2018
God bless her. She was one of a kind. Hope her family does not have to go through any long dragged out deal. Best wishes to them.
— Greg Carver (@GregCarver18) September 2, 2018
One day at a time ❤️
— Wylecia V. Trawick (@trawick62) September 3, 2018
Praying for the family. That’s one massive estate – I hope they grit it out in peace, and out of the spotlight.
— Alla Mitchell (@AllaMit10256141) September 2, 2018
But others hoped to honor Aretha’s wishes to keep things private.
Damn y’all nosey, ain’t nobody’s business really.
— Marie Josephine Cake (@1jeannelong) September 3, 2018
Why is this anyone business but the family
— Dwain Trent (@DwainTrent15) September 3, 2018
Why is this anyone else's business except the Franklin family?https://t.co/2YgLNKtgiO
— JxWoods (@iamJxWoods) September 2, 2018
We hope her family can divide her estate quickly and privately.