When there is confusion regarding a decedent’s last will and testament or other issues regarding his or her estate plan, it can spark disputes among family members. Each year in Illinois, family disagreements about a loved one’s will or other estate planning concerns end up in probate court. When iconic soul singer Aretha Franklin passed away, it prompted probate litigation among her family members that is still ongoing.
Franklin’s estate is said to be worth approximately $17 million. Several handwritten wills were found in her home after she died. This has placed several of her loved ones at odds, which has led to a nasty court battle. Franklin’s niece has been acting as executor of the estate but she has reportedly requested to be relieved of those duties.
Franklin’s son claims he is designated as an executor to his mother’s estate in her handwritten will. The judge overseeing the case has ordered all parties to mediation. In such sessions, participants must agree to amicably discuss each unresolved issue with the goal of reaching a satisfactory settlement.
Probate litigation can take months, even years to resolve. Illinois estate owners who have executed thorough plans help protect their heirs and beneficiaries from the types of disputes Aretha Franklin’s loved ones are currently experiencing. It pays to have an experienced estate administration attorney review a prospective plan before signing any documents. The attorney can make recommendations and can also remain on hand to help with any changes or updates that may be needed down the line.