Search of late singer’s home yields three holographic wills

On Behalf of | May 30, 2019 | estate planning |

Some individuals in Illinois might see news stories about relatives of famous or wealthy people engaged in an estate plan dispute, and they may think it does not apply to them. However, crafting estate planning documents is critical regardless of the circumstances. A prime example of why is exemplified with the estate of the late singer Aretha Franklin.

Franklin died in August 2014 and it was initially believed that she did not leave a will. A search of her home recently uncovered three handwritten — also referred to as holographic — documents that are believed to be separate wills. They were found in her Detroit residence. One was in a notebook located underneath the couch cushions in her living room. The will in the notebook is dated March 2014. The other two wills are dated 2010 and were found in a cabinet that had been locked. They seem to leave her assets to members of her family. In some instances, the writing is difficult to read with writing in the margins and words crossed out.

After her death at age 76, attorneys and her family did not think there was a will. These documents were recently found. Their legality is being determined. Franklin had four sons and there has yet to be an agreement as to whether these wills are valid. Two sons are objecting to them. An administrator at a Michigan college is the estate’s personal representative. That is also up for dispute as one of her sons filed a claim saying that the 2014 will named him as the representative. An ongoing appraisal from outside experts is assessing the value of her estate. The Internal Revenue Service is also seeking $6 million in taxes.

It can be difficult for most people to relate to such a complicated situation as the one that is ongoing with. However, this situation is a possibility for many people who fail to have a comprehensive estate plan with viable strategies that address all their needs. There could be a business that needs to be discussed, properties such as real estate and automobiles, items of sentimental value, preparing for the care of children under 18, and more. Law firms that practice estate planning can help people attempt to avoid disputes and disagreements and ensure an orderly process after the person has died.