Aretha Franklin’s four sons Clarence Franklin, Edward Franklin, Kecalf Franklin and Ted White Jr. Clarence are expected to have an equal portion of her estate since the late singer did not have a will.
According to Mail Online, Court papers filed in Michigan’s Oakland County court last week by David J. Bennett, the lawyer who worked most closely with Franklin, lay out the few known basics:
She was not married and left four sons, ages 48 to 63: Clarence Franklin, Edward Franklin, Kecalf Franklin and Ted White Jr. Clarence, Aretha’s eldest, is incapacitated and is represented by a guardian. And a niece of hers has accepted the role of executor.
Under Michigan law, as in most states, the sons will equally divide their mother’s assets in the absence of a will, and so far no signs of conflict have emerged among family members. Bennett did not respond to phone and email messages seeking comment
The documents make no mention of the value of Franklin’s estate. The figure almost certainly runs into the tens of millions, but there will probably be widely varying estimates as her attorneys seek to downplay her wealth for tax purposes and the IRS tries to maximize the amount for its own reasons.
Among Franklin’s more tangible assets are several pieces of property in the Detroit area that according to tax assessors’ estimates are worth at least $2 million, with a market value that could easily be twice that.
Once the value is established – a process that could take years – the IRS will take any back taxes Franklin owed, then will tax her estate at 40 percent for any assets beyond $11.2 million.
Kenneth Abdo, an attorney who specializes in probate law and has worked on the estate of Prince, who also died without a will, says the IRS will conduct an audit of her holdings.