According to several news outlets, Aretha Franklin died intestate, meaning that she had no will.  This means that her assets will be divided according to state law – in her case that means the law in Michigan –  and will be split evenly among her 4 children.

That may be exactly what Ms. Franklin would have wanted.  Or it may not be.  One of her children has special needs, and requires financial and other forms of support and is unable to handle his own affairs.  Who will be responsible for those assets?


What if one of her children is in the midst of an ugly divorce?  Or what if they’re in the middle of a bankruptcy proceedings or have creditors?  What if one of the kids was estranged, or has a drinking or drug problem?  What about things like specific items that she may have wanted to go to specific people?  Or future licensing fees – maybe she wanted those types of things handled in specific ways?  Who will make those decisions?  Who will be in charge?  What if all 4 kids want to be in in charge, but disagree on how to handle some of the affairs?  What if YOUR KIDS disagree if something happens to you?

And none of these questions address the fact that there will likely be significant tax consequences, at least some of which could have been avoided.


Its far easier to create a plan than most people think.  As one of my clients recently told me, “its so important to do this…life is so precious and so fragile and people don’t realize it…and you ask questions that I would have never thought about otherwise”.

You don’t create a will for yourself…you create it to leave guidance and simplify things for those you’ve left behind, to ensure family peace, to potentially save on taxes, and to ensure that what YOU want is what actually happens.

If you’d like to chat – I’m here to help.  Call me @ 856-439-6223.