Aretha Franklin’s Wills Dispute

If you have been following the news, you may have seen that there is a dispute regarding Aretha Franklin’s estate plan. Her sons are in court fighting over her estate and multiple wills.

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Aretha Franklin died in 2018, and because she did not have a trust, her wills went through probate court where they are being disputed by her sons.

A Will from 2014 and two Wills from 2010 were found in Ms. Franklin’s home by her niece, following her death. The Wills were not the same and led to a dispute among her family as to which Will should be followed by the probate court.

Both of the 2010 Wills were found in a locked cabinet, however, the 2014 Will was found in a spiral notebook under couch cushions. The 2014 will is difficult to decipher and has words scratched out.

Her sons have been in and out of court fighting over the wills since her passing. 

While Ms. Franklin attempted to create an estate plan, it unfortunately did not go as planned.

How can you avoid lengthy and costly probate disputes for your family? 

  1. Work with an estate planning lawyer. If you seek professional help, they can help you get the correct documents in place, make sure that they are legible and are in keeping with your wishes.
  2. Use the correct documents. If Ms. Franklin had utilized a trust, instead of a will, she may have been able to avoid painful legal disputes between her family. Her assets also would have had more protection from the legal expenses associate with probate court, the time and delays associated with probate court, and the publicity.
  3. Update your documents regularly and properly. We help our clients update their documents regularly to make sure that they are correct. This needs to be done in a certain manner, to ensure there is no later dispute as to which document should be followed.

Proper estate planning can prevent your loved ones from costly and lengthy disputes.

It can also help prevent rifts in your family. 

We help our clients put the correct documents in place, and update their documents. We also help our clients put tailored and effective language in place to protect their wishes.

Let us know if you have questions as to what type of estate plan is right for you or your loved ones.

Contact us today to help you get the right documents in place or to update your current estate plan. We will plan so that you don’t have to worry about your future.   

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