Aretha Franklin Didn't Leave a Will, Apparently

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Aretha Franklin reportedly had $80 million to her name when she died on August 16, but it appears she didn’t make plans for that fortune’s future—according to a report in TMZ, the Queen of Soul didn’t leave a will.


The website says that Franklin died “intestate,” i.e., without a will, which is odd, considering she had been ill with pancreatic cancer for a long time before she died. Then again, Michigan law dictates her estate be divided up equally among her four children, so the outcome of all this is far less dramatic than the Westing Game-esque shenanigans I expected.

TMZ also notes that Franklin’s family has planned a series of memorials and celebrations in Detroit leading up to the Queen of Soul’s funeral on August 31, and her body will lie in-state at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History for two days next week, for those who’d like to pay their respects.


Lindsay Lohan’s Instagram is an increasingly absurdist collection of #mantras, selfies, and occasional religious greetings that I can’t help but wonder if it’s run by the same geniuses behind @KimKierkegaard, the only good Twitter account on the Internet. Now, we have this:

I have many questions.


  • Hillary Swank got married in a forest, which is very nice. [Vogue]
  • Kim Kardashian West doesn’t always like to sit with her kids at dinner, though her reasoning is surprisingly sound. [People]
  • Jesus. [Page Six]
  • Post Malone is safe, and everyone online is a dick. [Twitter]
  • Barbara Harris, who played the mom in the original version of Freaky Friday, is dead at 83. [Variety]




This is not meant to be shade on Aretha, since it seems like things will default to how I hope she would have wanted it, so she didn’t see a need for formalize it, but please please please people: have a will and make sure it is in safe hands!

Previous generations of my family were torn apart because of my great-grandmother’s fear of death and subsequent lack of will. The effects were so far-reaching that 25 years after her death, a “family friend” (only part of the family) who hated my grandmother because of the bullshit over my great-grandmother’s estate MARRIED MY GRANDMOTHER’S WIDOWER (my dad’s step-father and the only grandfather I knew) AND CONVINCED HIM TO CUT CONTACT WITH BOTH MY FATHER AND ME...I was 13 at the time. Obviously, my step-grandfather had more than his share of culpability here, but he was also of sub-average intelligence (as determined by the US Army circa 1943). I don’t think of myself as having a particularly dramatic family life, but then I remember that, because a woman I had never met was too afraid of death to have a will, the only grandfather was convinced to disown me.

Additionally, my husband’s grandmother has a will, but as her mental state deteriorated, she started moving things around, including her will. She is currently in hospice and likely will die in a few days, and the two of her adult children who have done the lion’s share of the care for her, who also happen to be the least financially stable, have to worried that their asshole of a brother, who has ignored his mother and siblings for years, is going to fight them if they can’t find the will that is currently lost (he is already making noises about it. Dick.) My mother-in-law just wants her sisters to be comfortable and would prefer it all go to them, as was her mother’s wish, but it’s an extra layer of stress that they can’t find the will.

So please, get a will, and put it in a safe deposit box or something. Save your loved ones a lot of additional and unnecessary pain and heartache!