After Aretha Franklin passed away last month, details emerged that she did not have a will, leaving uncertainty over what will happen to her estate.
After legendary singer Aretha Franklin passed away aged 76, it was discovered that she had died intestate, meaning that her entire estate will need to be distributed in ways which she may not have wanted, according to US State Law.
Putting Off A Will
It is surprising that someone with so much wealth, as well as close family to distribute it to would not have had a will in place. It also seems that a lack of will was not intentional. Don Wilson, a lawyer who worked for Aretha Franklin for almost 30 years said: “She never told me, ‘No, I don’t want to do one.’ She understood the need. It just didn’t seem to be something she got around to.”
Dividing Assets Without A Will
The process of dividing her estate may take years to complete, and could potentially be difficult, depending on disputes. There are other complicated assets to distribute, including royalty contracts and intellectual property. While the average person may not have such unusual assets, there are still “non-traditional” assets you need to think about. Things like digital assets, including social media accounts, digital files and passwords need to be accounted for, and many people may not think about these things immediately when constructing their will.
Writing A Will As Soon As Possible
With 50% of Britons currently without a will, there is lots of potential for unclaimed assets and legal issues, aside from the deceased’s wishes not being fulfilled. In 2015, around half a billion pounds were left unclaimed, with banks freezing the cash until a beneficiary had been found. To avoid these scenarios, you should write your will as soon as possible, no matter how old you are. If you would like more information on writing your own will, head to our wills services page for a detailed breakdown.