Musical icon Aretha Franklin was beloved by many people in Florida, and her recent passing left many feeling incredibly sad for the woman and her family. However, some fans were surprised to learn that Franklin apparently did not engage in any type of estate planning. According to her family, she did not leave behind any trusts, wills or other planning documents.
Franklin's four sons recently submitted documentation that lists themselves as the interested parties for her estate. One of the documents included information from her estate attorney and one of her sons, indicating that she had not left behind a will. As such, Franklin died intestate, which means that her assets will be split according to state law and not her personal wishes.
The singer was a notoriously private person, and the lack of any estate planning means that her estate will go through probate and likely become a very public affair. It could also complicate things for her family. Franklin's attorney for her copyrighted materials stated that it would be difficult if not impossible to place a monetary value on her original compositions. When this much money is at stake, fighting among family is a very real possibility.
One of Franklin's nieces requested that she be appointed as personal representative for the estate, which is not an uncommon role for a family member to fill. However, it will ultimately be up to the judge to install a representative. People in Florida can best handle the distribution of their assets after their deaths by taking the time to engage in thoughtful estate planning.