Aretha Franklin's lack of will has caused a legal feud among her heirs. The Queen of Soul had amassed over $108 million before she passed away at 76.
The music icon has four sons who are expected to split her multimillion-dollar fortune. However, Franklin's children are debating whether or not her long-term, on and off lover deserves a share of her wealth.
Aretha Franklin's Relationship
Reports suggest that Franklin's heirs are involved in a legal feud with Willie Wilkerson, a fireman who was considered as forever friend by the late singer. Wilkerson, 71, met the famous artist in Detroit during a meet and greet with fans in the 1980s. It was during this time when they started their relationship.
The two canceled their engagement in 2011. However, they still continued to be with each other until Franklin succumbed to pancreatic cancer. Two of the singer's sons, Edward, 62, and Clarence, 63, agreed that he warrants a part of their mother's fortune as they were together for a long time.
On the other hand, Kecalf, 48, and Ted White, Jr., 54, claimed that Wilkerson used their mother and only wants nothing but her fortune.
Lack Of Will
Additionally, many experts were stunned about the singer's lack of will. Franklin's fortune could take years before it will be processed. However, Franklin's entertainment lawyer Don Wilson said that the singer wishes for her assets not to be publicly aired.
Wilson, who worked for Franklin for around three decades, constantly advised her to process her will.
"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," Wilson added.
Another lawyer in the person of Laura Zwicker, who mostly works on estate planning, said that the case is not unusual.
"People don't like to face their own mortality. I had a client who had a $70 million real estate portfolio who had had end-stage diabetes," she said.
The law in Michigan states that Franklin's sons have the right to equally divide their mother's assets amid the absence of a will. During the funeral, Ron Moten, a businessman, gave her sons guidance.
"Remember your family, and friends that have been with you for years 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," he stated.
Lawyer Kenneth Abdo said that the IRS will conduct an audit. Abdo worked on Prince's assets who also died without a will.