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Aretha Franklin Left No Will or Trust to Manage Reported $80M Estate

Aretha Franklin failed to draw up a will or trust to handle her estate after her death, according to documents recently filed by her four sons.

The papers registered in Oakland County Probate Court Tuesday, Aug. 21 and obtained by the Detroit Free Press shows Franklin’s children listed themselves as interested parties in her estate, which reported to be worth $80 million. The sons Franklin is survived by are Clarence Franklin, Edward Franklin, Ted “Teddy” White, Jr., and Kecalf Franklin.

There is concern that Clarence Franklin, who has special needs, may not get added assistance, according to Extra.

Aretha Franklin

(Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

The late icon’s niece, Sabrina Owens, has asked the court to name her as the personal representative of the 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” under the law, reads a document signed by her son Kecalf Franklin, and the singer’s estate attorney, David Bennett.

Franklin died Thursday, Aug. 17 at her home in Detroit, Mich., after a private battle with advanced pancreatic cancer.

“I was after her for a number of years to do a trust,” said lawyer Don Wilson, who represented the performer in concerns over copyright, song publishing and record deals since 1990. “It would have expedited things and kept them out of probate, and kept things private.”

Michigan law states assets of an unwed person who dies sans a will are to be split evenly among the person’s children.

But Franklin’s decision to not create a will before she died could prompt a court battle between creditors or extended family members over her holdings. Such fights have continued to endure for other deceased music icons like Prince.

“I just hope [Franklin’s estate] doesn’t end up getting so hotly contested,” Wilson said. “Any time they don’t leave a trust or will, there always ends up being a fight.”

Private funeral arrangements for the “Respect” singer have been made at Greater Grace Temple for Aug. 31, which will be limited to family and friends. Before then, public viewings will be held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on Aug. 28-29 and New Bethel Baptist Church on Aug. 30.

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