The Queen of Soul died on Thursday at the age of 76 after years of battling cancer, and according to TMZ, Aretha Franklin did leave a will or trust.
However, hours after her passing, reports started to surface that her partner of thirty years and her sons are already at war over her $80 million fortune.
Celebrity Insider reports that Franklin lived with local firefighter Willie Wilkerson for over three decades before she died, but when they got engaged in 2012, a tabloid report claimed that her sons had concerns that he would steal their inheritance. She later called off the wedding, but the two continued their relationship.
Her sons, Clarence, 63, Edward, 61, Ted White Jr., 54, and Kecalf Cunningham, 48, have all been involved in her career and have reportedly filed a document listing themselves as interested parties as representatives of the estate, the Detroit Free Press reported. It said under Michigan law, if an unmarried person dies without a will, his or her assets are divided equally among any children.
In addition to her sons’ filing, Franklin’s niece has asked the court to appoint her as a personal representative of the estate, CNN reports.
However, an insider close to Wilkerson says that he thinks it is only fair that he gets a portion of Franklin’s estate but her sons are determined to keep their mom’s money in the family.
Franklin’s lawyer for nearly three decades said that he constantly asked her to do a trust, but she never got around to it.
“I was after her for a number of years to do a trust,” said Los Angeles attorney Don Wilson. “It would have expedited things and kept them out of probate and kept things private.”
He added, ”I just hope (Franklin’s estate) doesn’t end up getting so hotly contested,” Wilson said. “Any time they don’t leave a trust or will, there always ends up being a fight.”