After a near six decades in the spotlight, Aretha Franklin has died at the age of 76, reportedly without leaving a Will. The Queen of Soul passed away at her home in Detroit on Thursday the 16th of August, after an on-going battle with pancreatic cancer.

Aretha Franklin was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and during her 76 years she earned 18 Grammy Awards, released many popular hits such as “Respect” and “I Say a Little Prayer”, and sold more than 75 million records worldwide.

Aretha’s funeral for her close family and friends will be held on the 31st of August at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, with a public viewing of her casket taking place a few days prior to the private service for fans to pay their respects. She will then be laid to rest at Detroit’s Woodland Cemetery alongside her father, 3 siblings and nephew.

She is estimated to be worth around $80 million (£62 million) and because no Will has yet been found, her estate may be deemed intestate.

So, the likely absence of a Will has shocked many in the light of Aretha’s wealth and circumstances. The iconic singer’s decision to not create a Will before she died could prompt a court battle over her assets by creditors or extended family members seeking a portion of her estate.

Regardless of wealth, age or health, it is crucial that people understand the importance of planning ahead. The rules of intestacy will divide your estate in a pre-determined way and, regardless of your relations, it could result in your assets being distributed to family members that you would not have chosen to inherit from your estate. Keeping a Will is the only way to ensure you retain control of your decisions and your estate is distributed in a way that reflects your wishes.

Amba Legal Services, based in Worcestershire, can answer any questions you have regarding estate administration and Wills  – call us on 01299251442 for further advice.