The multi-day celebration ending in Aretha Franklin’s funeral on Friday is over. The Queen of Soul was sent off with a long and glorious service in her hometown of Detroit, and now her family is left to take care of what follows her death.
The 76-year-old died of pancreatic cancer last month without a will, and though she was worth millions, it will likely take years for her four sons to find and divide her assets as the IRS conducts an audit of her holdings, according to a new report from the Associated Press.
Her attorney claims Franklin understood the importance of creating a will and trust, but seemingly never got around to creating one before her death. Under Michigan law, her sons will equally divide their mother’s assets. “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,” says Don Wilson, who advised Franklin for 30 years.
Her sons, Clarence Franklin, Edward Franklin, Kecalf Franklin, and Ted White Jr. Clarence, range in age from 48 to 63, and her eldest is represented by a guardian. Her niece is serving as executor.
“Remember your family, and friends that have been with you for years,” Aretha’s friend Ron Moten told her sons during the funeral on Friday. “Because you are about to meet a lot of people who will now want to be your new best friend. You will also meet some people that will have the best investments in the world for you. My advice? Go slow, be careful and be smart.”
Franklin's assets include her estate, and she also maintained ownership of the songs she wrote, which doesn’t include some of her most popular singles like “Respect,” because it was written by Otis Redding. She also owed several properties in Detroit.