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Aretha Franklin’s estate serves as cautionary tale

When done correctly, estate planning is rarely news worthy. However, when an individual, especially someone with notoriety or a large estate passes away without implementing the proper protectionary measures, the issue can certainly be worth talking about. This is because a lack of an estate plan can leave the assets within the estate susceptible not only to taxes, but also creditors. It can also open the door for familial disputes to arise, which can force the matter to go through probate court. In the end, this can cost a lot of time, money, heartache and result in a way that the deceased individual never would have intended.

The estate of famous singer Aretha Franklin might be in this position now after she died without a will or any trusts. The estate is likely worth millions, probably even tens of millions, which means that it may get hit with a significant amount of property taxes. Maybe even more than $20 million’s worth. Although there hasn’t been an indication that distribution of the estate will be disputed, one need only look to the situation involving pop icon Prince’s estate to see the dangers that could be posed.

Had Aretha Franklin taken the proper steps early on, she could have ensured that her estate was as fully protected as possible, thereby allowing her loved ones to receive as much value from the estate as possible. Additionally, she could have ensured that her assets passed down exactly as she intended. While state laws usually divide wealth amongst those family members closest to an individual, sometimes those leaving assets don’t want certain people to receive assets. The only way to avoid that is to engage in proper estate planning.

You don’t have to be wealthy in order for estate planning to have a profound impact on your life. Therefore, it is important that Arizonans carefully think about what they want to happen to their assets and plan accordingly.