The 'Queen of Soul' Passed On Without Leaving A Will

From Motown star and "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin left no Will when she died; all but guaranteeing a messy post-mortem fight among her heirs.

For such a private person, having to manage an estate of any size through the probate process can make it a very public affair.

Her Estate is reportedly valued at approximately $80 million, of which about $70 million will be subject to the 40% Estate tax.

For those of you non-math people, that's about $28 million in estate tax liability. That is about as much as it would cost to buy Los Gatos, "the Grandest Estate in Silicon Valley."

The Queen of Soul

The Queen of Soul

Aretha's four sons, or any other relative whom the court appoints as Administrator of the Estate, will have the burden of administering the Estate, with all the complications associated with gathering and disposing of a huge amount of assets.

Speaking to the Detroit Free Press, Franklin’s long-time entertainment lawyer Don Wilson doesn’t paint a particularly optimistic picture. “I was after her for a number of years to do a trust,” he said. “It would have expedited things and kept them out of probate and kept things private.”


Here at Powell & Edwards, we encourage you to say a little prayer for Aretha's family, and then get your own house in order!