Aretha Franklin, who sadly passed away on 16 August, did so without making a will.
Ms Franklin had been unwell for some time and apparently her lawyer had been encouraging her over a number of years’ to either make a Will or establish a Trust. Aretha’s failure to attend to making a valid will is not entirely unusual in the entertainment world and she joins Prince, Steig Larrson and Barry White as another celebrity who did not make any provision for their estate upon death.
According to the New York Times the Queen of Soul left behind a growing estate valued around $80 million. The distribution of Aretha’s estate immediately becomes far more complex in the absence of a will and the risk of disputes greatly increases, as do the legal costs and likely tax bills. In the case of singer and songwriter Prince his estate is reported as still being in disarray two years after his death following a multitude of claims.
We probably should not be completely surprised by the situation surrounding Ms Franklin’s estate as approximately 45% of Australians do not have an up to date will. Do you!
The most effective way to avoid any potential issues is to record your wishes in a valid Will. A Will protects your survivors from any misunderstandings over not only the division of assets but can cover intentions such as organ donations; charitable donations; funeral arrangements; indicating your children’s guardians and nominating the executors to your estate, amongst other things.
If you already have a Will, perhaps it’s time for a review of your existing arrangements. & Legal recommend that your Will be reviewed regularly, as your circumstances and/or your wishes often change over time.
The expert team at & Legal deal with a wide variety of estate matters and can help you create Trusts to structure your affairs in tax-efficient ways. If you wish to review your succession planning arrangements, contact & Legal for guidance on the appropriate strategy.
Don’t end up like Aretha’s relatives who have been left with “Saying a Little Prayer” that her assets are distributed fairly.