Laura A. Zwicker

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Aretha’s lack of a will could make things rocky for heirs

September 2, 2018Article
Associated Press

Aretha Franklin was so hard-nosed in her business dealings that she demanded to be paid in cash before performing. Her heirs won’t have it so simple.

Though she lived to 76 and was terminally ill with pancreatic cancer, the Queen of Soul died without a will.

As her four sons and other family members move on from Friday’s funeral in Detroit, they’re left with the potentially tall task of finding out how many millions she was worth, and divvying it up, a process that could take years and is likely to play out in public.

Laura Zwicker, an attorney who specializes in estate planning but is not affiliated with the Franklin estate, says she sees it happen all too often in her work.

“People don’t like to face their own mortality,” Zwicker says. “I had a client who had a $70 million real estate portfolio who had had end-stage diabetes. He had plenty of conversations with me about estate planning but would not sign the documents.”

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