Aretha Franklin Died Without an Estate Plan

 Dear Reader,

 

  The “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, is known and loved around the world, and there are millions that can sing along when her famous anthems “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.” and “A Natural Woman” play. Countless men and women look to her as a role model of unprecedented musical talent as well as an influential voice in the civil rights era. 

   As an estate planning attorney, I was surprised when it was disclosed that Aretha, a very private person, had little to no planning. What does this mean for her estate?

    1. All finances will go public.
    2. Everyone may rummage through her financial and personal matters.
    3. California statutes and a probate judge now get “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.”
    4. If there are family squabbles, we’ll all get to watch.
    5. It will likely take years for a court to dig through her affairs.
    6. An estimated $25 million estate tax bill will be due…payable by May 2019.
    7. Family heirlooms may have to be sold or borrowed against to pay taxes.
    8. Increased professional fees and court costs, and
    9. Increased stress on grieving family members ensue.

   Is this the legacy she wanted? Most of us do not have estates comparable to Aretha’s, but the protections and privacy afforded by having an estate plan in place, such as a will or trust, apply to every family. Franklin’s four sons will now have to endure a probate process that could take years to complete.

   The Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm has been helping families answer important estate planning questions for over 20 years now, and we would like to help your family plan for the future as well. We offer free educational workshops in our office twice a month that not only answer your questions about estate planning, but they also make you aware of numerous, often unknown, options. We have a few seats still open for our workshops in September, and I would like to invite you and your loved ones to attend. Please join me to learn more about the estate planning options available to you, or contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

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Sincerely,