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Another Member Of Music Royalty Dies With No Will

Legendary singer, Aretha Franklin succumbed to pancreatic cancer at the age of 76 on August 16, 2018, and she was accorded funeral rites usually reserved for heads of state.  But the diva who famously demanded respect, sadly, died without a will.

Her estate is subject to probate, and a long-drawn out public legal proceeding to hear claims by her four children and other relatives — an undignified end for music royalty.

While Ms. Franklin was a genius by most measures and her music legacy lives on, she appears to have had a blind spot when it came to money and, perhaps, mortality.  A minister's daughter, the Queen of Soul, was known to demand payment in cash before performing live and keep the cash near her onstage.

Probate proceedings have often resulted in public family fights and big legal fees, and music rights owned by an artist heighten the stakes and greed.  The case of Prince, who died in 2016 without a will, has reportedly led to family disputes and revocation of a multimillion-dollar music deal.

Instead of leaving a legacy defined on her own terms, Ms. Franklin's family is subject to a public probate proceeding, which can turn ugly.

We suggest as part of the financial planning process that individuals retain an estate planning attorney to oversee their final financial affairs as well as any estate documents needed. 


This article was written by a veteran financial journalist. While the sources are believed to be reliable, the information is not intended to be used as financial advice without consulting a professional about your personal situation.





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