After years of battling pancreatic cancer, the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, died surrounded by family and friends on August 16, 2018. Despite the shocking reality that she died without a will or a trust, her family has banded together to quickly protect her estate. But there are unavoidable problems on the horizon because Aretha did not do the proper estate planning.
As the Detroit Free Press reported yesterday, Aretha Franklin died without a will or a trust. Her longtime entertainment attorney in Los Angeles, Don Wilson, told the Free Press that he “was after her for a number of years to do a trust.” Our review of the recent probate court filing confirms that Aretha died “intestate”, or without a will.
On August 21, 2018, one of Aretha’s four sons, Kecalf Franklin, along with a Detroit-area attorney who worked with Aretha for more than 40 years, filed the paperwork with the Oakland County Probate Court. While Aretha was a lifelong resident of Detroit, her death certificate lists Bloomfield Hills, a northern suburb, as her domicile. So her probate will be handled through Oakland County, not Wayne County, where Detroit is located.