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Dispute over late performer's estate continues among her heirs

When Nevadans lose a loved one, it is difficult in an emotional and personal way. This can be made more complicated if there are disputes among loved ones as to how the assets will be distributed. Even those who have done due diligence with comprehensive estate planning might make mistakes. If the person died intestate or had several documents that could be considered part of an estate plan, it is harder to untangle. For the wealthy and famous, this frequently plays out publicly.

The family of the late performer Aretha Franklin is locked in a battle over her estate. Her sons are at the center of the case. One requested that a judge appoint him as the co-executor and share duties with Ms. Franklin's niece. A temporary restraining order was filed by a second son to prevent the niece from making decisions until an executor is named. The niece is accused of proliferate spending and selling her aunt's personal property.

Ms. Franklin had four sons. Immediately following her death nearly one year ago at age 76, no estate planning documents were found. However, her niece stated she found three holographic wills. Two wills were dated 2010; one was dated 2014. They were filed, so a judge can determine if they are legal. Two sons lodged objections to the wills, so the judge will soon decide whether to use a handwriting expert or not.

Whether it is a large estate or a smaller one, multiple factors can be addressed in an estate plan. Ms. Franklin's case illustrates the danger of failing to have a clear estate plan as it has been the catalyst for disputes that are causing fissures within the family. To avoid these problems, consulting with an estate administration law firm may be beneficial.

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