Aretha Franklin

What will happen to Aretha Franklin's music and the rest of her estate?

Aretha Franklin reportedly left behind no will or trust for her estate at the time of her death. The Detroit Free Press reported that the Respect singer’s four sons filed documents on Tuesday, August 21, as interested parties in her estate. “The decedent died intestate and after exercising reasonable diligence, I am aware of any unrevoked testamentary instrument relating to property located in this state as defined,” the document read. According to the news outlet, Aretha’s niece Sabrina Owens has requested to be appointed the personal representative of the estate.

Aretha Franklin reportedly left behind no will or trust at the time of her death Photo: Getty Images 


"I was after her for a number of years to do a trust,” Los Angeles attorney Don Wilson, who was a legal representative for the late singer told the outlet. “It would have expedited things and kept them out of probate and kept things private.” According to Michigan law, the assets of an unmarried person, who dies without a will, are divided equally amongst their children. The absence of a will could lead to a court battle over her possessions and music catalog, between extended family members or anyone seeking a portion of her estate.

The Queen of Soul passed away on August 16 Photo: Getty Images 

Don also told the paper that it would be impossible to put a dollar value on the singer’s catalog, which includes hits such as, Chain of Fools, I Say a Little Prayer and Natural Woman. The Queen of Soul passed away on August 16, at the age of 76, after a battle with cancer.


“In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our hearts” her family said in a statement. The legendary musician’s funeral will be held in Detroit on August 31, following public viewings, held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on August 28 and 29.

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