A recent news story regarding the late soul star, Aretha Franklin, who died with an estimated worth of around $80 million (approximately £62 million) shows the dangers of relying on homemade wills, particularly when significant assets are involved.
The singer passed away in August 2018 and left no will to divide her assets amongst her family and friends, or to declare who should act as the executor of her estate.
At the time it seemed as though Franklin had left no guidance and her niece, Sabrina Owens, was named as executor. However, homemade wills have since emerged, giving cause for her sons to challenge Owens’ position alleging impropriety.
The wills have now been filed with the court, with a handwriting expert set to be brought in to try and determine the validity of the documents. The case has so far resulted in multiple court hearings and no resolution, 12 months after the singer’s death.
This case highlights the fact that this could happen closer to home and could easily have been avoided with the right professional advice, and the right documents in place at the time of passing.
As family disputes can have a shattering effect on families, it is vital to keep your will updated to avoid the potential stress, costs and fallout from a dispute.
Whatever stage of life you are at, a will offers peace of mind and ensures your wishes regarding guardians are known and money, property and all other possessions go to those whom you wish to receive them.
In cases of unmarried couples, a will ensures that your joint wealth can be passed to the survivor, as intestacy rules do not recognise unmarried couples.
This publication has been prepared by RRL Wills Limited. It is to be treated as a general guide only and is not intended to be a comprehensive statement of the law or represent specific advice. No liability is accepted for the opinions it contains, or for any errors or omissions. All rights reserved.