Beloved Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin passed away last week after a years-long battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 76.
But another battle is potentially brewing days after her death: control of the late icon’s multimillion dollar estate.
According to reports, Franklin did not leave a will or trust to oversee her estate. When that occurs, Michigan state law deems the holdings “heir property”, and equally distributes funds and property to the decedent’s surviving children; Franklin had four sons.
According to reports, Franklin’s four sons have filed documents as “interested parties” connected to her estate.
She also has a niece who asked a Detroit court to appoint her as a personal representative of Franklin’s estate.
Franklin’s longtime attorney, who said he for years unsuccessfully urged Franklin to form a trust, hopes this all doesn’t end up being a nasty legal fight over the singer’s reportedly substantial property.
“I just hope (Franklin’s estate) doesn’t end up getting so hotly contested,” Los Angeles attorney Don Wilson told The Detroit Free Press. “Any time they don’t leave a trust or will, there always ends up being a fight.”
Its unclear what Franklin’s net worth actually is: various websites have estimated her wealth to range from $60 million to well over $100 million.
But if the case ends up in probate court, the exact numbers involved will end up being made public.
Franklin’s funeral will be held on August 31 in Detroit, with a private service for family and friends planned for 10 a.m. ET the same day.
Public viewings will be held August 28 and 29 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.Franklin will be entombed at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit.