The Queen (of Soul) Dies Without a WillSubmitted by Orange CA Financial Advisor | Sterling Wealth Partners on August 29th, 2018
Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul” and arguably one of the greatest singers of all time, recently passed away at age 76. Unfortunately, she joins a long line of wealthy people and celebrities (Prince, Howard Hughes, and James Brown among others) who did not have a will or estate plan in place.
What this means is that the division of her roughly $80 million estate will be decided by the State of Michigan where she lived. When you die without a will, it is called dying “intestate” and each state has rules about how the estate will be divided. In Michigan, her estate will pass equally to her four children, but in other states, parents and siblings may also be included in the line of inheritance. The state will also appoint an executor to handle the probate process, and in Aretha’s case the family has asked that the state appoint her niece as executor.
We will never know if having her four children split $80,000 million equally and immediately is what she wanted. And, we have yet to know if family disputes are going to arise because she did not plan for her passing. One of her sons has special needs and likely cannot manage his affairs himself. If Aretha had planned her estate, that son’s portion could have been paid into a special needs trust for his benefit.
Aretha Franklin certainly had the funds to create a solid estate plan. Indeed, her attorney was after her for many years to do this. Unfortunately, it isn’t always cost that prevents people from planning; it is facing our ultimate mortality. Hopefully, you have your estate plan in place, including your will, trust, power of attorney, health care directives, and updated beneficiary designations.
Think of this every day scenario: You are getting ready to go into surgery where there is a possibility that you may not survive. If something happens, does your family know what to do? Do they know what assets they have, where your important documents are, who to contact? If not, it is time to get your estate affairs in order. It is part of our holistic financial planning process to look at your estate plan and make sure you ready for the unexpected.
If you would like a complementary estate plan review, please contact us.