No will for Aretha Franklin when she died

Saturday, 25 August 2018

It has been reported that legendary singer Aretha Franklin died without making a Will, despite her estimated $80 million fortune.  Court documents have disclosed that she died intestate which means she had no Will at the time of her death.  Under Michigan law, where an unmarried person dies without leaving a Will then their estate is divided equally among any children.

The fact that Aretha Franklin died without leaving a Will is particularly surprising as it is reported that one of her children, Clarence, has special needs and will require financial and medical support for the rest of his life.  He will now reportedly share his fortune with his three other siblings.

Aretha Franklin’s lawyer for over three decades, Don Wilson, has said that he had constantly asked her to put a Trust or Will in place but she had never instructed him to do so.  He said “I just hope her estate does not get so hotly contested.  Any time they don’t leave a Trust or a Will, there always ends up being a big fight”.

Under Scots Law, if you die without making a Will:

  • No-one is automatically appointed your executor (the person who winds up your estate) and a family member has to apply to the court to be appointed executor. This increases expense and there is a legal requirement to take out insurance which can be expensive.
  • Your spouse does not necessarily get everything in your estate.
  • If you are not married or in a civil partnership your partner has no automatic entitlement to any share of your estate, but has to apply to the court.
  • The law governs who gets what and, unless all those entitled to a share agree, this cannot be changed.
  • If your estate falls partly or wholly to children, they are entitled to payment in full when they are just 16 years old.

At Stevenson Marshall, we have a team of highly experienced Solicitors ready to help you make a Will.  If you would like to discuss Wills or indeed any other aspect of Lifetime Legal planning then please contact one of our Lifetime Legal team on 01383 721141.

About Wills and Making Your Will

Contact Us