Aretha Franklin reportedly left no will; estate headed to probate

By elderlaw

The Detroit Free Press is reporting renowned singer Aretha Franklin died with no will on record.

Now her four adult sons have filed notice with the court that they are interested parties in her estate, which looks like it will be settled in probate court.

no will

Aretha Franklin Photo: Paul Morigi/WireImage

“Her four sons filed a document Tuesday afternoon listing themselves as interested parties in her estate. One document filed with the court and signed by her son Kecalf Franklin, and her estate attorney, David Bennett, check a box acknowledging the absence of a will,” The Free Press reported Tuesday evening, Aug. 21.

Franklin, long known as “The Queen of Soul” died  Aug. 16 at her home in Detroit, following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 76.

Franklin’s niece Sabrina Owens asked the court to appoint her as personal representative of the estate, the Detroit newspaper reported. Oakland County Probate Court Judge Jennifer Callaghan was assigned the case.

Friends and a former attorney for the late singer reported she was intensely private. But her finances are now headed for public display in open court.

“I was after her for a number of years to do a trust,” Los Angeles attorney Don Wilson, who represented Franklin in entertainment matters for the past 28 years, told the Free Press. “It would have expedited things and kept them out of probate, and kept things private.”

As Franklin’s attorney in copyright matters, song publishing and record deals, Wilson said he would have been consulted about her holdings for any estate planning purposes, the newspaper said.

The Free Press also reported:

“Wilson said that at this point it’s impossible to place a dollar figure on the value of her song catalog. He said she did maintain ownership of her original compositions, which include well-known hits such as Think and Rock Steady.”

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