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Aretha Franklin died without a will or trust; will her four sons inherit her estate?


Steve Mack/Getty ImagesThe Queen of Soul died without leaving a will or trust, and her four sons have filed documents to be named beneficiaries of her estate.

“I was after her for a number of years to do a trust,” Aretha Franklin‘s attorney Don Wilson tells the Detroit Free Press. “It would have expedited things and kept them out of probate, and kept things private.”

Franklin’s sons filed court documents on Tuesday listing themselves as interested parties in her estate. Her niece, Sabrina Owens, requested to be appointed as personal representative of the estate.

Franklin passed away on August 16 at her home in Detroit from pancreatic cancer. She was 76. Under Michigan law, when an unmarried person dies without a will, their assets are divided equally among any children.

Wilson is concerned that other family members, and possibly creditors, could become involved and create a  battle over the Queen’s fortune.

“I just hope [Franklin’s estate] doesn’t end up getting so hotly contested,” Wilson says. “Any time they don’t leave a trust or will, there always ends up being a fight.”

A private funeral for Aretha will be held on August 31 at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit. There will be public viewings on August 28 and 29 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, also in Detroit, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time.

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