06 Sep Aretha Franklin Died Without a Will. What Happens Next?
Prince. Amy Winehouse. Bob Marley. What do these famous musicians have in common? None of them created a last will and testament before they died. A few weeks ago, Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, became the latest star to die without a will. So, what happens to her estate next? Read on to find out.
Why create a last will and testament?
First, to understand the process that Franklin’s estate will go through, it’s important to understand why every one should create a last will and testament. A last will and testament is a legal document used to complete a variety of estate planning tasks when you die, including:
- Distributing assets
- Naming a legal guardian for minor children
- Naming a personal representative
This legal document is a key component of a solid estate plan because it enables you to lay out in advance how you’d like your assets distributed. Other estate planning documents, such as a trust, can be a better choice for distributing assets in the event privacy is a concern. However, at the very least, every one should create a last will, regardless of their marital status or income level.
What happens if you don’t create a last will?
If you die without creating a will, you have died intestate. This means that the intestate succession laws of the state in which you lived will determine how your assets are distributed. In other words, if you die without a will, the state assumes it knows how you would’ve wanted your assets distributed. Assets subject to a state’s succession laws are items that would’ve needed to pass through probate. Succession is determined based on the living relatives of the deceased.
In Franklin’s case…
In Franklin’s case, her estate is subject to the intestate laws of Michigan. Her estate, which is estimated to have a net worth of $80 million, will be split equally between her four sons. While this sounds fair, it might not have been what Franklin actually wanted. If she had created a will before she died, she could’ve split her assets out equally or unequally, left specific items to specific people, and potentially protected the privacy of her loved ones by creating additional documents, such as a trust.
To learn more about the benefits of creating a last will and testament, check out our blog post here.
How can Boyum Law Firm help you?
Boyum Law Firm can help you with your estate planning, Medicaid planning, and probate law needs. To contact Boyum Law, click here.