Aretha Franklin passed away 3 years ago…leaving a MESS! Initially, it was thought she didn’t leave a will…she actually left 4 in various places in her homes (amazing what one finds under couch cushions)!
One of Ms. Franklin’s sons has special needs and has a guardian, no support was provided for him, as Ms. Franklin did not set up any forms of trust.
“The singer’s first three wills were written by hand…apparently without help from lawyers. Two were found in a locked cabinet; a third reportedly stuffed inside a sofa cushion…[a]fter Franklin [passed], her last will and testament appeared… and then another… and yet another, in March 2021. Each will carries conflicting instructions and beneficiaries.”
“[Three] years after Franklin’s death continue to battle over her estate, estimated to be worth as much as $79.75 million.”
Ms. Franklin’s four sons continue to fight over her estate – money, music rights, image rights, royalties, things (tangible personal property), etc. Up to now, none [served as] Ms. Franklins Personal Representative (f/k/a Executor). One son, in particular, has been vocal and litigious in his pursuit of that role.
“This is all about his attempts to become the personal representative of the estate,” says David Bennett, Franklin’s longtime lawyer and estate counsel. “He does not speak for the family…[w]hat he’s really doing is talking for himself.”
“The battle has split the family bitterly: [His] bid to become the estate’s executor is backed by [one] brother, but opposed by [two] siblings.”
We certainly don’t have this level of complexity in our lives, however, the impact on our family and friends can be the same. We can still “split the family” and create irreparable harm if we leave a mess for others to clean up. “You better think, think!” I’m sure we want to make sure our assets and things pass to those of our choice in the smoothest way possible and not in legal fees between fighting family or friends.
Please reach out and set up a 20-min, no-fee consult. Let’s get a plan in place!