New York Times, Aretha Franklin Died Without a Will, and Estate Issues Loom:
Aretha Franklin left no will when she died last week at the age of 76, according to documents filed on Tuesday in a Michigan court, which could result in details of her personal finances being made public. ... According to Michigan law, the assets of an unmarried person who dies without a will are divided equally among their children. Ms. Franklin had been married twice, but was long since divorced. ...
[H]igh-profile probate proceedings can drag on for years and lead to infighting among families, lawyers and others. Such estates can become especially complicated when it comes to issues like music rights. The case of Prince, who died two years ago and left no will, has led to numerous family disputes and even the revocation of a multimillion-dollar music deal.
Amanda DiChello, an estate lawyer at the firm of Cozen O’Connor in Philadelphia, said that a surprising number of celebrities and wealthy people die without a will.
Robert W. Wood (Forbes), Like Prince, Aretha Franklin Died Without A Will. Why You Should Have One:
Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, died without a will. Papers have already been filed in court by Franklin’s four sons and niece. That means there will be public proceedings. There could be court battles too, depending on who claims what. Unexpected celebrity deaths can make the rest of us think about what documents we need to have in place. The tax and financial hassle of probate or intestacy can be huge, even for normal sized estates. When you add the extra zeros that go with a successful entertainer, the failures can seem much more palpable.
Franklin is not the only star who neglected estate planning. In 2016, Prince died without a will, echoing estate planning gaffes by Philip Seymour Hoffman, James Gandolfini, Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger, and others. All of these celebrity estates had issues of one sort or another. ...
The stories should make tax advisers and estate planners cringe.