Reply
Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,997
Registered: ‎03-12-2010

I found this story interesting.  Maybe because I have been personally involved with a couple Will's!

 

Apparently 2 sons had a dispute over which was her current legal Will.  So this went to Probate Court with a jury.

 

She did not have a current, formal, Estate plan upon her passing.  She did have something more formal stored in a locked cabinet.  However, a handwritten Will was found in a couch after her passing.  So the jury had to decide if that one (dated later) was valid.  I happened to see a news story on it.

 

The handwritten one was written on what looked like lined paper you had for school.  It looked printed, not cursive.  She wrote on it, crossed things off, etc.  It was difficult to decipher.

 

The jury found that her more recent Will, the handwritten one, was valid.  She left approx. a $6 million Estate.  She owed a lot of back taxes, so that was what was left.

 

We all need to have a formal, valid, Will!

 

Hyacinth

Honored Contributor
Posts: 16,606
Registered: ‎03-11-2010

what about rights to all her music? wouldn't that be a part of her estate?

 

interesting topic

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,602
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Definitely a will and a medical directive. No one wants to make those difficult decisions for you. ❤️

Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,051
Registered: ‎03-14-2010

What I found interesting - 

 

"A document handwritten by singer Aretha Franklin and found under her sofa cushions after her death in 2018 is a valid Michigan will, a jury has ruled.

The decision is a critical turn in a dispute that has turned her sons against one another.

The Queen of Soul died in 2018 aged 76 without a formal, typewritten will, and five years later her legacy is still tied up in a Detroit court after a niece found different sets of handwritten papers at her home."

"The ruling is a victory for Kecalf and Edward Franklin, whose lawyers had argued that papers dated 2014 should override a 2010 will that was discovered around the same time in a locked cabinet at the singer’s home in suburban Detroit."

But you would think that important paper work would not be left under sofa cushions for 4 years. Important paper work would be locked away.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,104
Registered: ‎03-11-2010

It always amazes how many people don't have a will or trust when they die.  What a mess and hard feelings that creates.  My BIL just says, the kids can work it out.  His estate will be somewhat complicated due to a family partnership that includes lots of land and water rights.  I'm all about making things easy for those who are left.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,542
Registered: ‎11-24-2013

She owed tons of back taxes as she carried all of her cash around with her. Never accepted payment by check, cash only. Didn't file taxes for the most part.

 

This was a big news story when she died.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 69,706
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Seems like this is an issue that should have been adjudicated by a probate judge only, not a jury with scant knowledge of the law.  It's unusual, to say the least, to accept an unnotarized  document, not to mention giving it precedence over one that is.

New Mexico☀️Land Of Enchantment
Honored Contributor
Posts: 32,638
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

@godi wrote:

Definitely a will and a medical directive. No one wants to make those difficult decisions for you. ❤️


@godi You are right, but in reality someone has to deal with it in any care.  No matter what you leave someone does have to do it for you.  Someone has to clean up whatever mess you left, and it may come down to  the state can do it.  

 

If you have nobody to leave it to, it doesn't really matter.  The state steps in and lawyers get the funds and a little to the state.

 

So no, you don't really have to worry about it if you do not have someone to be burdened with it or that you want to have anything that might be left.  

Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,051
Registered: ‎03-14-2010

@Kachina624 wrote:

Seems like this is an issue that should have been adjudicated by a probate judge only, not a jury with scant knowledge of the law.  It's unusual, to say the least, to accept an unnotarized  document, not to mention giving it precedence over one that is.


That surprised me too. Why would a jury decide the outcome and not people well versed with the law.

We went through an issue with my Dad's Uncle's will.

 

The Uncle was a meticulous man about everything, his finances, his dress and his surroundings. He had a 16 page will that clearly stated all his final wishes. It was drawn up with his lawyers and the Bank that was it's Trustee. My Dad's was Executor of the will.

 

After the Uncle died, another will showed up. It was 5 lines long. It misspelled the Uncle's deceased wife's name. And was witnessed by a TV repairman that happened to be in the Uncle's hospital room in Switzerland.

All the Uncle's assets in the "new" will went to a German woman that my Uncle and his Wife had met on a cruise. 

He had on occasion exchanged letters with her after the cruise. His health was declining and after his wife passed away, it seemed to decline more. He had cancer and because of his age, 84, the United States Doctor's were not doing any radical treatment.

 

Well, German lady told my Uncle that there were Doctors in Switzerland that would be able to cure his cancer. So he flew to Switzerland and was immediately admitted to the hospital. Where he signed the new will. And all the sudden he was back in the United States. No treatment was done in Switzerland.

The battle over the will lasted years. LOTS of lawyers were involved. There were 8. Had to have German Lawyers (she spoke no English) (My Uncle spoke German because his wife was German) and English Lawyers, And Lawyers for the Bank. 

 

The Judge at Ophans Court in Philadelphia ruled in German Lady's favor because her will was written after the 16 page will.