The recent death of Aretha Franklin highlights the importance of estate planning. Ms. Franklin died without a will or trust in place. Her attorney said that he constantly advised her to set up a trust. Ms. Franklin was not married at the time of her death and she is survived by four sons. Under Michigan law, her estate will be divided between her four children. While Ms. Franklin will Ms. Franklin may be the latest celebrity to die without a will but she is certainly not the only one.
Prince died in 2016 without a will or trust in place either. He had one full sibling and several half-siblings. His assets include a vault of unreleased music and an expansive home that with a recording studio. He was not married at the time of his death and he did not have any children. Throughout his life, Prince made charitable contributions to various organizations. He was also a mentor to up and coming artists.
What do most people have in common with these celebrities? They do not have a will. According to a 2017 article from AARP, 6 in 10 adults in the U.S. do not have a will. As a result, the court will determine the heirs to their estate. The court will distribute all of their assets among their heirs based on their familial relationship. Maybe Prince had not spoken to his half-brother in three years and did not want him to have anything. This will not influence the court. The court will not take into account Prince’s philanthropy. What can you take away from this? These issues can be avoided with a will. A will is your means of directing the distribution of your property. You can decide who will administer your estate and who will receive your property, but you must have a will. If you do not an estate plan, please contact our office today.