Despite her $80 million fortune, reports claim that Aretha Franklin died without a Will.

Aretha Franklin, died earlier this month aged 76. The Queen of Soul left behind an estate estimated to be worth $80 million. But, in spite of her wealth, it is claimed that she did not leave a Will.

Franklin had been fighting pancreatic cancer for several years before her death. But despite this, she did not legally specify where she wanted her fortune to go. As such, she died intestate.

What will happen now?

Don Wilson, an attorney who represented Franklin for nearly three decades, said that he had been “after her for a number of years to do a trust”.

According to The Detroit Free Press, Franklin’s four sons filed a document in Oakland County Probate Court in which they listed themselves as interested parties in her estate. Her niece, Sabrina Owen, also asked to be appointed a personal representative of the estate.

In this case, it is likely that a family battle will be avoided as Michigan law states that if the deceased is unmarried, their fortune should be shared equally among their children.

What can happen if you die without a Will?
Dying without a Will is called dying intestate. In such cases, the Courts decide where your assets go.

Dying intestate is not recommended and can lead to complications and feuds.

Common problems of dying without a Will include:

• Your spouse might not inherit all of your estate (the total value of all that you own)
• Money and property might be distributed in a way you do not want
• Treasured items might not be passed on the way you want
• Your funeral might not be carried out the way you want
• Loved ones might not be able to inherit (e.g. un-married partners and step-children)
• You have no control over who will look after your children if they are under 18
• People you know and trust may not be appointed as Executors (the people who ensure your Will is carried out correctly)
• Organisations such as charities would not be considered
• Your children, children from a previous relationship, or vulnerable beneficiaries could miss out on what you want them to inherit
• Your family may be burdened with legal complications, delays and additional costs.

While a Will is something many people don’t consider until later life, it is never too early to prepare.

To make sure your loved ones are looked after the way you want after you are gone, contact us on 01634 353 658 or email If you already have a Will, it is essential that you review this every five years, or after any significant life event.