Queen of Soul’s Reign Ends Badly

According to a recent article in Hour magazine, Aretha Franklin’s estate is headed to court.


          At the time of her death, Aretha had four sons and no Will on file with any of her attorneys.  The four sons are her legal heirs. In August of 2018, they agree to have their cousin, Sabrina Owens, act as the representative for Aretha’s estate.

          In May of 2019, Owens told the heirs that she had found two handwritten “Wills” in Aretha’s home – one from 2014 in a spiral notebook under the sofa cushions and one from 2010 in a locked cabinet.

          The 2010 Will gave out specific personal items and let an allowance for each of her sons.  But the 2014 Will divided her assets between her children and her grandchildren and let her three younger sons decide how much to give their oldest brother (who has mental illness and lives in a group home).

          The 2014 Will named all three sons to manage her estate, but two names are also crossed out.  Now, one of the sons has accused the other two of mishandling the estate. Those two have countered with objections of their own, including that the estate paid all the attorney fees to defend their brother’s DUI arrest.

          Franklin’s estate was estimated to be worth $17 million at the time of her death so there are lots of people interested in how it is resolved. Aretha may have owed $8 million in taxes at the time of her death, but her earnings could continue to increase after her death, if handled properly.

          So, what is next for the heirs of the Queen of Soul? The Oakland County Probate Court has appointed an attorney to act as the temporary representative of the estate.  A trial of all the issues should to begin this September.

(Photo provided by :  uk.news.yahoo.com)



Legal Strategies, P.C. 

Terri North is the Macomb County, Michigan attorney who heads up the Legal Strategies practice. Legal Strategies assists clients in the areas of estate planning, probate and real estate. 
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