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No Will for Franklin.

No Will For Franklin.

Aretha Franklin had her first number one hit in 1967. But when she died last week at age 76, there was no way to respect her wishes regarding her $80 million estate.
That’s because like so many celebrities, she never got around to writing a will.
By all accounts, Ms. Franklin was particularly private about her financial affairs, to the point sometimes demanding payment for performances in cash.
So, it is ironic that the distribution of her substantial assets will now become a very, very public event.
The Queen of Soul is not alone in neglecting to plan for her final performance. It has been suggested 7 in 10 English adults do not have a Will to dictate of whom gets what of their assets upon their death.
This is especially disheartening, since the process for most of us is simple and inexpensive, particularly when compared to the costs, delays and potential familial distress of letting the state and the courts do it for you.
If a person dies intestate (Latin for “without a will”). The assets are then split between the spouse and the children, the first £250,000 goes to the spouse if married and the other 50% gets shared between the children.
In Ms. Franklin’s case, she had no surviving husband but four adult children.  Her assets were split equally among the four. Sounds simple, but not so fast.
The process must be played out in a legal process called probate, which in high-profile cases involving significant assets can take some time to play out.
Also, the process is public and likely to attract significant media attention (just ask the would-be heirs of the singer Prince, whose estate is still being tussled over two years after his death).
And there’s the cost. The court must appoint an executor or personal representative to act on behalf of Ms. Franklin during the probate process.
She could easily have named the person she wished to perform this duty in her will. And there will likely be substantial claims and challenges that must be litigated. All of which will cost money and quite possibly will come out of Ms Franklin’s estate.
It is reported that Ms. Franklin has one son with special needs, yet there appears to be no plan set forth conveying how she wished to provide for his care after her death.
Again, some simple estate planning could have established a trust that allowed some of her assets stipulate how the money would be handled and identify the person charged with financial decisions on his behalf as he would be classed as a vulnerable adult, Franklin could have named a trustee to manage his financial affairs.
Wills must still pass through probate, but the process is generally much more straightforward and less costly than intestate succession and spells out who gets what.
And for higher-profile cases like Ms. Franklin and Prince, some simple tools like a living trust can avoid public disposition entirely and specify exactly how the person wants their legacy shared out.
My Legacy Matters can help you sort out your finances and ensure that your loved ones are catered for, call today, to see how we can help.
My Legacy Matters because your Family Matters.

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