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Aretha Franklin died without an estate plan

Pennsylvania residents have likely heard that Aretha Franklin recently passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer. While her estate was worth an estimated $80 million at the time of her death, the music legend never created a will. An adviser for the singer urged her to go through the estate planning process, but she never followed the advice.

Instead, the state of Michigan is going to write a will for Franklin. Her heirs will need to agree on who controls the estate and assets such as Franklin's music catalog. With multiple heirs, there is a chance that infighting could occur, and this may lead to strained relationships among family members. Franklin's niece has petitioned the court to be the executor of the estate.

The estate will need to pay estate tax on the singer's net worth above $11.18 million. According to federal law, the estate tax rate is 40 percent, and the amount due needs to be paid within nine months of the singer's death. As the probate process is public, newspapers and others will have access to details about the singer's finances. They will also have access to details relating to the potential drama between the heirs as the process unfolds.

Creating an estate plan can provide many benefits to an individual. For instance, it may help to protect a family's privacy while they grieve the loss of a loved one. Furthermore, it could facilitate the property transfer process in a stress-free manner. An attorney may help a client create an estate plan. Those who have a plan in place are urged to review it regularly.

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