Aretha Franklin was a legend in the music world. The singer and songwriter, who became known as the Queen of Soul, not only touched fans with her musical talent but also played an instrumental role in the civil rights movement, fighting to raise awareness of issues facing African-Americans, women, and indigenous people across the globe. Her life served as an inspiration for millions and taught those who listened to her music and her messages about important issues that helped lead the social transformation of the 1960s.
Franklin died on Aug. 16 at the age of 76, and her death once again has focused attention on the many causes that were important to her. Yet despite all the things she did, one thing that she neglected to do could end up causing strife for her family — and teach a lesson in a very different area: estate planning.
The Queen of Soul leaves no will
After Franklin’s death, her four sons filed legal documents with a local probate court in Michigan. According to the filings, Franklin died intestate — meaning that she had no will — and her sons couldn’t find any will or other testamentary document that would govern how her estate would be dispersed.