The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166499   Message #4004062
Posted By: keberoxu
10-Aug-19 - 06:27 PM
Thread Name: probate and Aretha Franklin's heirs
Subject: RE: probate and Aretha Franklin's heirs
I am not, presently, at Aretha Franklin's age (when she died),
but I am old enough, I would guess,
to be one of her adult children; and I am a woman.

Speaking for myself, certain issues personal to me
are touched on in this story --
regardless of the fact that
I have nothing comparable to Ms. Franklin's stupendous musical achievements
(well, I thought they were, anyhow),
nor her fame and celebrity,
nor her self-made wealth.   

I don't even have a spouse or children, so help me.
But I had parents, and my parents were elderly at death.

One parent, at death, was intestate, leaving behind no will;
in spite of which, an agent was appointed (no, not me)
to distribute the very modest material things left behind.

I could speak of the other parent,
but it's too painful and I would rather be silent at the moment.

But you know,
could not an adult,
earning their own way in the world
and raising their own family,
sit down with her or his superstar wealthy parent Aretha and say,
"Mama, you ought to have a last will and testament and
everything ought to be put in place before you go,
and none of this
handwritten will-and-testament stuffed under the sofa cushions"?

Ms. Franklin was something of a child prodigy,
she was still a legal minor
when she first sang gospel with the voice of a grown woman,
and had her singing published on a vinyl long-playing recording.
She came up through the music business
and paid some really tough dues,
not the least of which was
standing up to producer John Hammond
who wanted to tell her what to sing,
and how to sing it and for what type of audience.

She had experience fighting to get what she had.
For a lot of people she was something of a role model.

Aretha Franklin was blessed not to have to
bury one of her own children before she died
(see Gladys Knight and Tina Turner amongst others).
What prevented Ms. Franklin from investing at least some time and expense
in planning ahead of time and drawing up legal instruments
so as to avoid the spectacle of
four grown children --
or their guardian, in the case of
one adult son with serious health issues --
lawyering up in probate court?
Could nobody see this coming?

Those are some of the concerns I have.