Most people in Washington State are likely aware that the woman commonly referred to as “The Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, died last month. It is likely a common thought that anyone of her status and wealth would have had a solid estate plan in place. It has, however, come to light as reported by The Washington Post that the famous singer and entertainer did not, in fact, have any will, trust or other estate planning document in place at the time of her death.
It has been reported that the woman was advised to establish a trust or a will but she actively chose against doing so. Under the laws of her state, her assets would theoretically be split in four equal shares between her surviving sons. However, what will actually happen remains unknown today. Several things could play into the ultimate direction of her estate.
One factor to be considered is that the deceased’s eldest son has a legal guardian as he has special needs. Details of those needs and his capacity are not known but one could imagine that the legal representative might put forth the argument that her ward deserves more than 25 percent of the estate in order to provide for his ongoing care. Another thing that often arises after a celebrity dies is the emergence of other parties who believe they should have some claim to a portion of the estate.
When she died after her battle with pancreatic cancer, the singer’s estate was said to be worth $80 million.