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probate and Aretha Franklin's heirs

10 Aug 19 - 12:57 PM (#4004006)
Subject: probate and Aretha Franklin's heirs
From: keberoxu

Not a musical topic as such,
I am tempted to put this thread in the non-music area.

One of the things about leaving wealth for your adult children,
when you do your estate planning,
is that there are legal ways to
settle the estate outside of probate court;
I thought that that was what trust funds were about.

Probate court in Aretha Franklin's Michigan home state
is now the (extremely) public arena
for Franklin's grown children to lawyer up and take sides,
amongst other divisive areas,
over no less than three possible last wills,
one of which was handwritten and hidden in the house.

Initial distributions of assets,
as the Detroit Free Press states,
has already begun, with
cash distributions made to each of the four adult children.

As of the latest reports,
administration of Aretha Franklin's estate has now been placed,
as per the judge,
directly under court supervision.

There has yet to be a decision
as to which of the three wills to honor and validate.

So this story is going to play out while
a long and litigious court case is underway,
and the family's dirty laundry will be aired
along with the financial arrangements and relationships.

I would like to hear more, for one thing,
about the mind-set probably at work when
Aretha Franklin was alive and commanding control of the money.

Is it because she came from a family and a way of life
in which there really was no wealth,
no bankers, no attorneys, and no estate planning?
Is that why she so famously
carried her purse to the piano with her on stage?

Administration of Aretha Franklin estate placed under court supervision

what was in the purse

10 Aug 19 - 01:28 PM (#4004012)
Subject: RE: probate and Aretha Franklin's heirs
From: Mossback

And this is your business - or that of anyone other than the principals - WHY exactly?

Is it because you're compelled to involve yourself in matters that in no way concern you?

Or is it because you're simply nosey?

10 Aug 19 - 01:58 PM (#4004019)
Subject: RE: probate and Aretha Franklin's heirs
From: punkfolkrocker

Actually, it is of concern to music lovers when the recorded legacy of much loved recently deceased artists,
becomes a battle ground between various greedy philistine family members
and ruthless music corporation lawyers/accountants...

Obviously I outline worst case and least desirable scenario...

10 Aug 19 - 05:11 PM (#4004052)
Subject: RE: probate and Aretha Franklin's heirs
From: meself

One thing I don't have to worry about is the possibility of my heirs fighting over my wealth ....

10 Aug 19 - 06:27 PM (#4004062)
Subject: RE: probate and Aretha Franklin's heirs
From: keberoxu

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.

11 Aug 19 - 11:54 AM (#4004157)
Subject: RE: probate and Aretha Franklin's heirs
From: Mrrzy

This is *interesting* whether my business or not.
In Europe I believe you cannot disinherit a child. Here, you can.

13 Aug 19 - 06:50 PM (#4004493)
Subject: RE: probate and Aretha Franklin's heirs
From: keberoxu

About the wills themselves:

Aretha Franklin's Handwritten Wills