Death of music legend Aretha Franklin highlights importance of having a Will

Posted on Friday August 24, 2018

Last week, legendary singer-songwriter Aretha Franklin passed away at the age of 76, leaving behind no Will documenting what should happen to her estate.

The music icon, who died from advanced pancreatic cancer, will be sorely missed by her fans, friends and family – the latter of whom are currently in difficult talks with legal experts.

According to a report in The New York Times, Ms Franklin’s four sons Edward, KeCalf and Clarence Franklin and Ted White Jr. have all listed themselves as “interested parties” to the star’s estate, after discovering that Ms Franklin had “died intestate.”

In addition to this, they have reportedly nominated the singer’s niece, Sabrina Owens, to act as an executor.

Under Michigan state law, if an unmarried person passes away without a recognised Will in place, their assets will be split equally between any surviving children.

This means that any other family members whom the star might otherwise have wished to have benefited from her estate, such as Ms Owens, will be disinherited.

It also means that there is a chance the star’s family could find themselves at loggerheads if, for example, a family member feels it is unfair that they will not receive anything at all, or if one of Ms Franklin’s sons feels they are entitled to a larger share.

The rules governing how an estate is passed on in the absence of a Will differ between the US and the UK, but the problems which could potentially arise remain largely the same.

Having a legally-recognised Will in place is the only way to ensure that your estate will be passed on in line with your wishes, and to reduce the likelihood of difficult disputes later down the line.