The Queen of Soul passed at the age of 76 in her Detroit home on Aug. 16. The singer, who suffered from pancreatic cancer had faced grave medical complications in the years prior to her death.
“I was after her for a number of years to do a trust,” Franklin’s attorney, Don Wilson, told the Detroit Free Press. “It would have expedited things and kept them out of probate and kept things private.”
Under Michigan law, when an unmarried person dies intestate, his or her assets are divided equally among their children. Though her four sons– Clarence, Edward, Ted, and Kecalf– have filed a document listing themselves as interested parties in her estate, Franklin’s niece, Sabrina Owens, asked the court to be appointed as the representative for her estate.
As Franklin’s attorney in copyright matters, song publishing and record deals, Wilson assures that he will be consulted regarding her holdings for estate planning purposes. Still, the lack of a will means that her finances will become a public matter in Oakland County Probate Court.
“I just hope (her estate) doesn’t end up getting so hotly contested,” Wilson said. “Any time they don’t leave a trust or will, there always ends up being a fight.”
Aretha Franklin has a reported net worth of $80 million.