Aretha Franklin Died Without A Will
By Atlantic Records (Billboard, page 9, 15 July 1967) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Aretha Franklin Died Without A Will

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DETROIT (CelebrityAccess) — Aretha Franklin was an intensely private person in life but guaranteed that the details of her estate would become public after she died without leaving a will.

According to the Detroit Free Press, probate documents filed on Tuesday revealed that Franklin did not leave instructions on the disposition of her sizeable estate.

“The decedent died intestate and after exercising reasonable diligence, I am unaware of any unrevoked testamentary instrument relating to property located in this state as defined,” a court filing from her estate attorney, David Bennett said, according to the Free Press.

Franklin’s niece Sabrina Owens has requested that the court appoint her as a personal representative for the estate.

Under the law, the estate will likely be divided between her four sons but creditors will have an opportunity to make claims on the estate.

Los Angeles attorney Don Wilson, who served as a longtime representative of Franklin, told the Free Press that he urged her to organizer her affairs.

“I was after her for a number of years to do a trust,” Wilson told the Free Press. “It would have expedited things and kept them out of probate, and kept things private.”

Franklin’s real estate holdings alone are substantial and including at least five houses in suburban Detroit, as well the rights to some of her most iconic hits, including “Think” and “Rock Steady.” With other hits, she obtained a piece of the copyright as part of the recording deal, Wilson told the Free Press.

“It’s difficult to really assess what the value of that catalog is,” Wilson told the newspaper. “Catalogs are sold at a multiple of net earnings and that multiple can range anywhere from 10 times to 20 times.”

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