When Aretha Franklin passed away five years ago at the age of 76, there was no typewritten or formal will. At that time her net worth was estimated at $80 million. However, updated valuations, back taxes owed, and lawyer fees now make the estate worth much closer to $6 million.
Although this does not include future royalties that may substantially add to the value of the estate. Many people initially believe that Aretha Franklin passed away without a will, which would mean that per state laws, her assets would be evenly distributed among her four sons after going through probate. However, handwritten wills were discovered at the singer’s Detroit home, written in 2014 and 2010. In most states, holographic wills are not recognized, however, Michigan is one of a few states across the country in which a handwritten will is seen as legally permissible.
A handwritten will in Michigan is only classified as legal when the documents are signed by two competent witnesses. In most cases, courts will determine that the most recent will supersedes any older will. However, the 2010 handwritten will for Franklin was signed and notarized while the 2014 document was not.
This celebrity estate planning problem highlights just how important it is to identify an experienced and qualified estate planning lawyer in Michigan to help you. You may have many different questions about the estate planning process and a dedicated attorney can be very instrumental in helping you outline your plans.
While a handwritten will may be accepted, it may be better to work with a lawyer to craft a more formal will.
Contact my Plymouth, MI estate planning law office to further develop your own will and other estate planning documents. We can discuss the best ways to include your wishes and ensure that your estate reflects your needs.