As the world continues to mourn the loss of Aretha Franklin, new details about the late singer’s will and fortune have come to light. On Tuesday, Aug. 21, TMZ revealed that the 76-year-old died without a will or a trust. So, since her net worth was estimated to be $80 million, who will inherit Aretha’s money?
According to Michigan law, Aretha’s estate will be equally divided between her four children: Clarence Franklin, 63, Edward Franklin, 61, Ted White Jr., 54, and Kecalf Cunningham, 48.
On Wednesday, Aug. 22, CNN reported that Aretha’s four sons have already filed legal documents listing themselves as interested parties in her fortune. The Detroit Free Press additionally revealed that one of Aretha’s nieces has also asked the court to appoint her as the personal representative of the music icon’s estate.
Aretha’s lawyer — who has represented her in entertainment matters for decades — told the local newspaper that he asked the “Respect” singer for years to create a will but she simply never found the time.
“I was after her for a number of years to do a trust. It would have expedited things and kept them out of probate and kept things private,” Los Angeles attorney Don Wilson said. “I just hope [Aretha’s estate] doesn’t end up getting so hotly contested. Any time they don’t leave a trust or will, there always ends up being a fight.”
Aretha sadly passed away on Aug. 16 after battling pancreatic cancer. Her funeral will reportedly take place on Friday, Aug. 31 in Detriot, MI. Afterward, the singer will allegedly be laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit.