Monday, May 20, 2024

Aretha Franklin: Division of Her Assets Might Not Be Too Messy

*Aretha Franklin reportedly left no will or trust when she died last week and the Detroit Free Press noted that her four sons filed a document on Tuesday listing themselves as interested parties in her estate.

Her estate attorney David Bennett, acknowledged the absence of a will, reports the L.A. Times. Franklin’s entertainment lawyer, Don Wilson, also revealed that he repeatedly asked her to put together a trust.

“I was after her for a number of years to do a trust,” he told the publication. “It would have expedited things and kept them out of probate, and kept things private.”

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The absence of a will means that Franklin’s finances will become public, according to the report. But Page Six noted that divvying up her assets with no will or trust left behind won’t be easy, but it doesn’t have to be a messy situation.

“To assume it won’t go smoothly because she died without a will isn’t an accurate assumption,” Philadelphia-based trusts and estates litigator Amanda DiChello, who has no affiliation with Franklin or her family, told the publication on Wednesday.

Franklin’s reported $80 million fortune is expected to go to her four children as they become equal beneficiaries under the law in Michigan, per reports.

And although “beneficiaries can fight over division of assets,” DiChello said that in the case of Franklin’s fortune, that may be prevented.

via Page Six:

Her niece Sarah Garret Owens was appointed as the personal representative to administer the estate, according to Forbes, a decision that was agreed upon by Franklin’s sons, one of whom is under a conservatorship.

However, the “Natural Woman” singer has assets that include music rights and royalties, which could delay a solution, similar to the situation involving Prince, whose estate has not been settled two years after his death.

DiChello also mentioned the possibility that she could have a handwritten will or that her former spouses or family members could “come out of the woodwork” claiming Franklin had verbally promised a pricey possession or certain amount of money.

As for why Franklin never had a will in the first place, “They don’t want to face death,” DiChello said of similar situations she’s seen. “They don’t want to talk about it.”

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