“Aretha Franklin reportedly left no will or trust when she died last Thursday, reports the Detroit Free Press.”
CBS.com says in its article, “Report: Aretha Franklin left no will,” that Franklin’s four sons filed a document that designate themselves as interested parties in her estate.
A document that was said to have been filed with the Oakland County Probate Court in Michigan and signed by her son Kecalf and her estate attorney David Bennett noted the absence of a will.
"The decedent died intestate and after exercising reasonable diligence, I am unaware of any unrevoked testamentary instrument relating to property located in this state as defined" under the law, the document said, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Because she died intestate or without a will, Franklin's finances will become public. Her niece, Sabrina Owens, has asked Judge Jennifer Callaghan to be the personal representative of the estate.
Don Wilson, Aretha's entertainment lawyer, commented to the Detroit Free Press that he repeatedly suggested that she create a trust.
"I was after her for a number of years to do a trust," he said. "It would have expedited things and kept them out of probate and kept things private."
The attorney said he would’ve helped Aretha manage her holdings in music publishing and copyright issues for estate planning. Wilson added that at this point, it's impossible to estimate the value on her song catalog. However, he also said that she retained ownership of her original compositions.
In her home state of Michigan, the assets of a deceased person who was unmarried are divided equally among children. However, creditors or extended family members could contest the estate.
Franklin died at home in Detroit in mid-August.
Her fans gathered to view her body in Detroit at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History last week.
Reference: CBS.com (August 22, 2018) “Report: Aretha Franklin left no will”