Aretha Franklin died with a reported net worth of $80 million… but left no will behind… which is surprising considering her long battle with various health ailments and a timeless music library.
Franklin died August 16 at age 76 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
According to court documents obtained by TMZ, the singer died “intestate” — meaning she had no will at the time of death. Although she was ill for several years and has a special needs son who requires financial and other forms of support for the rest of his life — having a will was low on the priority list, the outlet noted.
According to Michigan law, Franklin’s 4 kids will share equally in her estate, which celebritynetworth.com claims is estimated to be around $80 million.
Kenneth Silver, a shareholder at Hertz Schram law firm in Michigan, speculates to PEOPLE that the hitmaker left behind a number of assets. “I would expect that she has a house, probably a financial account of some kind — a brokerage account, stocks, bond, cash. She probably has investments of a wide variety — perhaps in real estate ventures, other businesses that she may own or have an interest in.”
He also noted, “[She may have] copyrights to her songs, perhaps publishing rights to her material, perhaps the material of other artists. And I’m sure she has probably a pretty valuable collection of personal property, things like Grammys, gold records, memorabilia from Motown years and onward.”
Meanwhile, Shaheen Imami, a shareholder at Prince Law Firm in Michigan, told the publication: “If she had an estate plan, you’ll first look to the estate plan,” he says. “If she did have a plan, it would consist of a will and a trust. And then they divvy up the money in a number of different ways among various beneficiaries.”
Adding, “Now, there are often people who are marginalized or cut out — maybe they’re family members, maybe they’re friends, maybe they’re anybody who might feel that ‘Well, I deserve a share of her estate.’ There could be litigation even if she had an estate plan in place.”
He further speculated: “My expectation is that as much will be done behind closed doors as possible,” Silver says. “It is the objective of the survivors of any deceased, whether it be Aretha Franklin or John Smith, to handle affairs as simply and quickly as you can. If you can avoid court proceedings, you want to avoid court proceedings. Sometimes you just can’t do that… In my experience, the larger the estate, the more public the figure, the greater the likelihood that there is going to be an issue.”