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Aretha Franklin's estate remains in dispute

The death of a loved one in California can bring out surprising claims on an estate, especially if the loved one was wealthy or famous. Aretha Franklin, the celebrated performer known as the "Queen of Soul," passed away in August 2018 at the age of 76 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Despite having an estate worth millions of dollars and a valuable music catalog, she left behind no will or trusts to disperse her assets. As a result, relatives and others have jumped into the fray to make a claim on the estate.

The Oakland County Probate Court near Detroit is handling the estate, and filings indicate that Franklin's ex-husband is seeking a share of her music royalties. The former husband is the dad of one of Franklin's four sons, who is already an heir under state intestacy laws. Franklin was married and divorced twice during her life. Another of Franklin's sons filed a request urging a higher level of financial disclosure from the estate during processing. The estate responded by saying that this demand would be excessively expensive.

In addition, a lawyer for the estate noted that local police are investigating a potential theft from Franklin before her death. The IRS also filed a claim, saying that the estate owes $6.3 million in taxes, but at least $3 million in taxes have been paid since Franklin's death. The estate noted that it is in dispute with the IRS over the income figures the tax agency imputes to the performer.

While most people don't have the extensive assets of a world-renowned celebrity, passing away without a plan in place can lead to family discord and the loss of hard-earned assets. The probate process can be especially challenging. However, an estate administration attorney can help people to protect their rights and prevent fraud.

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