Few New Jersey residents have the same level of assets music icon Aretha Franklin had when she died. Still, her case is one everyone can learn from. She is said to have died intestate -- without a will or trust. This means that probate is necessary and estate litigation is a very real possibility, which could drag out the administration process.
According to a recent report, Aretha Franklin left an estate valued around $80 million. She has four adult sons to whom the estate will ultimately be distributed, but only time will tell how that will all work out in the end. Without a trust in place, there are no tax protections, meaning roughly $27 million will go directly to Uncle Sam. If the singer had any debts, those will need to be paid and who knows how many people will come forward trying to claim rights to portions of her estate.
If the singer had a will or had placed her assets in a trust long before she became ill, it could have saved her children from a lot of stress, struggle and heartache. It could have ensured her wishes were known and honored. Now everything is up in the air, and there is no telling how long it could take to officially close out her estate.
Estate litigation battles are fairly common when a person dies intestate. Family members often struggle to agree on how the estate should be divided. Those who need to close out the estates of loved ones who resided in New Jersey at the time of their deaths can turn to an experienced attorney who will be able to help them do it as quickly and quietly as possible.