IRS Settlement Reached Over Aretha Franklin’s Estate

( Aretha Franklin died without a will. Chalked her up as a successful celebrity who neglected estate planning. Her heirs faced expensive legal battles due to a lack of enforceable papers.

Some massive estates have problems paying IRS estate tax.

Prince’s 2016 death without a will sparked various legal procedures. The estate disputed with the IRS about Prince’s estate tax worth. The IRS resolved Prince’s estate in 2021.

Michael Jackson’s estate valuation was another IRS dispute. The issue centered on the value of Michael Jackson’s image rights. IRS tax lessons abound.

The IRS claimed Aretha Franklin had not paid income taxes for several years.

The Franklin estate was worth about $80 million with music, licensing, and royalties. But she had IRS troubles, including tax liens. Aretha Franklin’s estate says her $8M tax obligation has been settled.

Her heirs must be relieved the IRS is gone. Franklin was unwell before her death, but even Will-holders don’t usually consider tax and other ramifications.

Amy Winehouse, like Prince, had no will. Her parents inherited her estate, not her ex-husband.

Heath Ledger had an outdated will. It left Michelle Williams and their kid out of his $20 million will.

James Gandolfini’s will handed over $30 million of his $70 million to the IRS.
Tax and estate planners should be horrified. Death is a sensitive topic. A few essential elements of Aretha’s position warrant consideration. A will would have made her wishes clear, but it’s public. No one should know who you benefit or disinherit. Public, costly, time-consuming probate is needless. No will is worse. Without a will, the state decides, generally by law. Self-decide is preferable. More straightforward and better: a will.

You may form a revocable trust to distribute your possessions for little money. Wills still exist. The will specifies everything belongs to the revocable trust.

A trust doesn’t always save taxes. No one likes to overpay taxes, but you want your assets to go where you desire, and changing a revocable trust is easy.

Unexpected celebrity deaths might make us rethink our documents. Even for normal-sized estates, probate and intestacy can be taxing and costly. When you add the additional zeros of a successful performer, setbacks appear more apparent. Franklin isn’t the only star who didn’t plan.