The funeral for Aretha Franklin is delayed for two weeks since she did not leave a will.
This lesson can be valuable for others to have and update their will. Should you die without a will, the courts in the state you reside in determine where the assets go.
Even more, if you have children who are minors and upon your death are left without parents, a judge decides who will take over as their guardian.
Everyone should have a will in case of a sudden tragedy. It’s important to have many vital roles setup as well as an executor of your will, and powers of attorney for financial affairs and your health care. So should you run into a health emergency that impairs your mental reasoning, someone you trust can handle your matters.
Franklin’s four sons filed a document with the Oakland County Probate Court on Tuesday to attempt to resolve the matter. Aretha Franklin died on August 16 due to advanced pancreatic cancer at the age of 76. Her funeral will be at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit this Friday.
Aretha Franklin’s niece has also asked the courts to appoint her as one of the personal representatives of the estate. Under Michigan law, should an unmarried person die with no will, their assets become equally divided among the children.
Franklin’s lawyer represented her in various entertainment matters for almost three decades. He always told Aretha to have a trust, but she never seemed to get around to doing it.
Don Wilson, the attorney, said had she made a trust, it would have made things much more straightforward and kept the affairs private.
In copyright matters, record deals, and song publishing, Wilson is Franklin’s attorney. The judge should consult Wilson on estate planning purposes. While he doesn’t have a dollar amount on how much her assets are worth, Wilson says the lack of a will makes the finances public in Oakland County’s Probate Court.
How the Story with Aretha Franklin Can Help The Rest of Us Now
About 60 percent of adults don’t have wills in the U.S. Having a plan in place can help ensure your final wishes are carried out. A will also prevents family disputes that could destroy relationships.
It doesn’t matter the size of your accounts, the lack of a will means the state decides who is the owner of what you leave behind.
It can help to hire a competent executor. It’s their job to liquidate accounts, pay any debts not discharged such as taxes to the IRS, sell your home, and ensure all assets go to the proper beneficiaries.
They can also help check and update account beneficiaries. This includes in life insurance policies or retirement accounts.
It’s also important to have an advance health-care directive or a living will. This document details your wishes should you become incapacitated due to injury or illness.
To save a loved one from the agonizing decision to end any life-saving measures for you, you could specify your wishes in a legal record.
Should you become incapacitated, those you grant powers of attorney to will handle the medical and financial affairs you can’t.
The person given the responsibility to your health care is often different than that one you ask to handle your financial affairs.
A good rule to follow is each time you have a significant life change, be sure your will reflects it.