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Aretha Franklin leaves massive estate behind with no will

Previous posts here have discussed the importance of estate planning and how those who don't engage in it adequately or in a timely fashion can be left susceptible to asset distribution that would be against their wishes. Yet, many individuals continue to neglect planning their estates. Even celebrities, like Prince, fall into that category, oftentimes triggering years-long litigation to value the estate and determine how property should be distributed.

Now, singer and icon Aretha Franklin falls into that same category. With her recent passing, the 76-year-old left behind an estate that could be worth tens of millions of dollars with no will or trusts to dictate how those assets should be handled. Additionally, her lack of estate planning vehicles could subject her estate to extensive taxes and expose it to creditors.

While there is no indication that Franklin's estate will be contested, no one, including celebrities, should count on their assets automatically passing down how they intend them to. This is why estate planning is so critical. By utilizing wills and trusts, individuals can avoid the lengthy and oftentimes costly probate process, while at the same time protecting their assets from creditors. Additionally, a customized approach to estate planning can ensure that those family members who an individual does not want to receive assets in fact do not.

Of course, because estate planning is so customizable and complex, those engaging in the process need to make sure that they are paying attention to every detail and being as clear as possible. This is the only way to ensure that there is no confusion when the documents come into play. To protect yourself, your estate and your loved ones as fully as possible, New York residents thinking about estate planning may want to talk with an experienced attorney to figure out a plan that adequately suits their needs.

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