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Post Series: Probate

Intestate, Intestacy, and dying without any estate planning.

Aretha Franklin did not have a will???

Several news organizations are reporting that the very private Aretha Franklin failed to put a trust in place to protect her privacy after death, but also failed to put in place a will. In Michigan this is called Intestate Proceedings, which is a part of probate.

Aretha Franklin should have had a trust! Why? First, someone as private of a public figure as she was would likely have wanted to keep information about her estate private. Without a trust, her estate will pass through probate and will be a public record for all to see. Second, a trust could have managed her large catalog of songs. Third, it could have made things easier on her four sons. 

Saginaw Elder Lawyer

Elder Law

So, she didn’t even have a will – what does that mean? In Michigan, there is a set of defaults to determine who inherits if you fail to make a will. Since she was not married at the time of her death, the law dictates that her four sons will each inherit 1/4 of the estate. This may or may not have been how she wanted her estate divided, we will never know since she did no estate planning. 

In one of the articles, Ms. Franklin’s copyright attorney mentioned that Ike Turner’s estate is still being litigated 11 years after his death. Ike Turner also did not have a will. Simply not having a will does not mean people will fight, but it does create the environment where it is easier to fight because there are no instructions from the decedent. 

Not having an estate plan is not a great idea. Do you need a trust – it depends on the type of assets you have, the amount of privacy you seek, and whether you are concerned with making things easier for your descendants.  

Dafoe Law, PLLC is a Life Care Planning law firm serving the Estate Planning, long-term care, probate, and trust administration needs of clients in Saginaw, Bay, Genesee, Huron and Tuscola Counties. Dafoe Law serves Frankenmuth, Bridgeport, Birch Run, Reese, Millington, Clio, Vassar, Saginaw, Saginaw Township, Freeland, Thomas Township, Spaulding Township, Burt, Bay City, Essexville, Munger, Kochville Township, Caro, Cass City, Sebewaing, Unionville, Pigeon, Bad Axe. Travis I. Dafoe is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorney, ElderCounsel, and WealthCounsel. Dafoe Law, PLLC is also a member of the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association. Start estate plan

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