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Sad battle over Aretha Franklin’s fortune a wider lesson to us all

For anyone with an interest in music Aretha Franklin needs no introduction.

Rated by many as the greatest soul singer of all time, her passing in 2018 was headline news with the great and good paying homage to her talent.

However, she has been making the news again in recent weeks as a discovery of some handwritten documents found in her home, one in a couch, have been declared valid wills.

In the intervening years since her death, what has gone under the radar to many is that her estate once valued at $80m has been whittled down to just $6m as her family engage in a furious battle for her riches.

She never had a formal will filed with a lawyer. An entertainment lawyer who knew her, said recently, she was a very private person who did not want anyone knowing her financial information.

This has meant three of her sons fighting an acrimonious battle, where the only winners have been the American lawyers who have now pocketed over $70m in legal fees.

Sadly, it is a tale that could be applied to many people here in the UK as hundreds of thousands of wills may have been written incorrectly, be out of date or invalid because they have not been signed and witnessed according to the necessary legal requirements.

Some do not write wills as they think the intestacy law will cover their situation – especially husbands and wives who wrongly believe that if one of them dies – everything will pass to the survivor.

There are also many people, estimates say over half the population, who do not have a will.

All this causes unnecessary battles and stress for many family members and other loved ones.

That is why it is the duty of legal professionals like ourselves to keep this subject in the spotlight as it is a huge issue for so many people.

We cannot underplay the fact that will writing is vital and is one of the most important documents anyone can ever make. It cannot be left to chance.

Many will writing services follow a simple template that do not address the complexities of modern family set ups and other issues. A will made by a reliable high street solicitor allows recourse if anything should go wrong.

The case of Aretha Franklin is more than celebrity gossip, but something that will hopefully provoke reaction by those uncomfortable about hearing this sad tale.

If you have any questions about will writing in Staines or surrounding areas, then please talk to us as we are legally qualified experts in wills and can help. 

We also strongly suggest that Wills are revisited periodically to ensure they reflect your current wishes.

Failure to make a will, make one properly or keep a will up to date remains an ongoing issue.

If you need to know more about Wills and Probate in Staines, then please contact our experienced team today. We are happy to help.