One of the main reasons people in Illinois and across the nation formulate an estate plan is to avoid family disputes after they have gone. This is especially worrisome for those who have substantial assets, but it is a concern for anyone.
An example of the problems that can arise when the estate plan is not cohesive has been discussed previously and centers around the late singer Aretha Franklin. The case has yet to be settled, and the dispute has seemingly gotten worse as time passed.
One of her sons has asked that a judge appoint him as the co-executor along with Ms. Franklin’s niece. Another son has filed a restraining order to prevent his brother from making any decision for the estate until there is an executor. The second son accuses the first of overspending and selling Ms. Franklin’s property. He also says that his brother received money and transferred a vehicle that was in their mother’s name to himself.
Ms. Franklin had four sons. After she died, it was first thought that she did not have a will. However, three holographic wills were discovered, two from 2010 and one from 2014. The documents were filed in probate court to determine how to untangle the situation. Objections to two wills were lodged by her sons.
The entire situation is complex with some names written and crossed out and a lack of clarity as to exactly what Ms. Franklin wanted. The judge is determining if there should be a handwriting expert called in to assess the documents further.
To have an estate plan, it is not necessary that a person be famous, prominent or even have significant assets. There are many functions of an estate plan from naming the heirs, deciding what property will go where, to have a medical proxy and more. It is a vital document to be protected and to help the family get through the difficult time without rancor. A law firm that helps people with their estate planning needs should be consulted with to craft a document and avoid the issues that damage so many families.