Since the passing of the late great Aretha Franklin, there has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding her estate. Through this situation, a few important estate planning aspects are becoming conversation topics amongst various parties.

Even for those with smaller estates, having a proper estate plan in place is vital. In this regard, there are a few key things to learn from the Queen of Soul.

Having a valid will

People work hard to amass the assets that comprise their estates. Therefore, it is only right that they have a say in how others treat their estate, even after their passing. A will, along with the rest of the estate plan, makes this possible. A legalized will is executable by law and aids in the probate process. In the case of Ms. Aretha Franklin, it could have eliminated certain estate taxes, which have already amounted to millions of dollars.

Avoid dueling wills

Initially, it seemed as though the Queen of Soul did not have a will in place, but over the last few months, three wills turned up. These dueling wills create a few different issues. The court now has them under review to determine if any of them are valid, which could greatly affect the probate of the estate, which is already underway. This shows the importance of avoiding dueling wills by properly filing a will with the state, along with any changes to the will.


Having at least one person who knows your wishes in full, including the location and contents of your will, can be quite helpful and beneficial during the probate process. If that were the case regarding Ms. Franklin’s estate, much of the confusion and issues regarding her estate would not have presented an issue.

While the distribution of estates can be a lengthy and intricate process with a will, not having a will can add greater difficulty during a hard time. For those who need to put an estate plan in place, speaking with a professional can help determine the best options for their particular estate needs.