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A Better Partnership


Aug 2018
August 28, 2018

Your estate may not be as complex as Aretha Franklin, but you still need a will

The death of Aretha Franklin has been acknowledged and mourned by fans, fellow artists, family and friends from around the world. But amid the stories highlighting the Queen of Soul’s legacy, we’re now hearing how she had no will at the time of her death.

Franklin’s four sons and a niece have already filed documentation listing themselves as interested parties; however, without a will, her property will be distributed in probate court, which could take years – and lots of money – to sort through the details.

Franklin’s estate is likely far more complex than most of us will have, but the lesson here is the same: Regardless of status or wealth, it’s critical to have a will.

When someone dies without a will, state law governs who will inherit that person’s estate, according to Jennifer Remondino, executive partner of the Holland office of Warner Norcross + Judd and chair of the Trusts & Estates group. This may also result in lawsuits from distant relatives trying to get part of the estate in question and higher costs since the process has to go through the court system.

Jennifer says a will is a good starting place since it allows people to:
  • Make the decision of how their estate is handled upon their death
  • Avoid a lengthy and costly probate process
  • Minimize estate taxes
  • Specify who will be in charge of and administer their estate
  • Ensure their loved ones can avoid great legal disputes or challenges
If you’d like assistance with your will or estate plan, you can reach Jennifer or any of the attorneys in our Trusts and Estates group. Learn more by clicking here.

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