Following the tragic death of Aretha Franklin last week, it has now been allegedly revealed that the Queen of Soul had no will.
The star is reported to be worth an incredible US$80 million (AU$109 million) thanks to her impressive musical career spanning decades, but it is now unclear what will happen to the icon’s assets now that she has passed away.
According to court documents, said to have been obtained by celebrity news website TMZ, Franklin died ‘intestate’, meaning she had not penned a will or left legal instruction as to who should inherit her wealth in the event of her death.
As a result, it has been claimed that her estate will be divided equally between her four sons – Clarence, 63, Edward, 61, Ted, 54, and Kecalf, 48 — in accordance with Michigan state law.
Aretha passed away at home in Detroit on August 16, at the age of 76, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
“In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart,” Franklin’s family said in a statement at the time. “We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.”
The family added: “We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”
Read more: ‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin dies at 76.
Her passing also triggered an outpouring of grief across the globe, with many of the music industry’s biggest names paying tribute to the ‘Queen of Soul’. Paul McCartney said on Twitter: “Let’s all take a moment to give thanks for the beautiful life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many many years.”
Singer Elton John said: “The whole world will miss her but will always rejoice in her remarkable legacy. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen.”
Michelle Obama said in a statement: “Watching Aretha Franklin perform at the White House, and on so many other occasions, made time stand still. @BarackObama and I are holding Aretha’s family in our hearts right now. She will forever be our Queen of Soul.”
Madonna also paid tribute to the ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T’ singer on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards on Monday night, however her words were slammed by fans who criticised Madge for making the tender moment “about her”.
The 60-year-old Like A Virgin star hit back on Tuesday though and defended her tribute, saying: “I was asked to present video of the year by MTV! And then they asked me to share any anecdotes I had in my career connected to Aretha Franklin.
“I did not intend to do a tribute to her! That would be impossible in 2 minutes with all the noise and tinsel of an award show. I could never do her justice in this context or environment.”