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The Queen of Soul, without an Estate Plan

Aretha Franklin, 1968

Why Not Plan?

If you are 76 years old, why do you not have an Estate Plan (a Will or Trust)? If you have terminal Pancreatic Cancer, why don’t you do an Estate Plan? If you have an estimated value of your Estate at over $80 million dollars, why don’t you do an Estate Plan? If you have people that you love, care about and/or interests that you care about, why don’t you do an Estate Plan?

These are some of the questions that run through one’s mind recently when it was revealed that the “Queen of Soul”, Aretha Franklin, died at age 76 from pancreatic cancer without an Estate Plan. Her Estate is estimated at over $80 million dollars.

What She Did

Her sons have filed with the Probate Court in Oakland County, Michigan as interested parties stating that she died “Intestate” which means without an Estate Plan (a Will or Trust). She also has a niece that has filed with the Probate Court asking to be in charge of the Estate. (Will there be a conflict between the adult children and the niece?

Aretha’s long time lawyer said that he had pushed her for years to do a “Trust”. “It would expedite things and keep them (the family) out of Probate and keep things private.”

Unfortunately, like much good professional advice, it was not heeded.

Hopefully, the estate of this famous singer will not involve as many relatives and as much wrestling as the singer Prince’s estate did.

What She Should Have Done

Aretha Franklin should have done a Trust based Estate Plan as her lawyer recommended to avoid the expense, delay & publicity of Probate Court for the assets titled in the Trust.  She should have done Tax Planning if she did have a large Estate. She should have chosen who she wanted in control of the assets & who should have them & how in her Estate Plan as opposed to leaving up to the State of Michigan to decide where her “life’s work” went.

At the Law Firm of Steven Andrew Jackson, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, we have helped hundreds of families protect themselves and their loved ones, avoid Estate Taxes and Probate Costs, and keep their Estate Plans current with the law through The Customized Protective Estate Planning Solution™.