Famous or not, here’s why you should have a will

Aretha Franklin died on Aug. 16 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Her fame and fortune will live on indefinitely.

However, the Queen of Soul didn’t have a will to cover her multi million dollar estate, according to published reports. And that will come at a cost.

Her four sons filed a document with the Oakland County Probate Court in Michigan that lists them as interested parties in Franklin’s estate. A niece also asked the court to appoint her as personal representative of the estate.

Of course, Franklin wouldn’t be the first person to forgo plans for her assets. Nearly 60 percent of U.S. adults don’t have a will, according to Caring.com. She also isn’t the first celebrity to die without one.

But you don’t have to be rich or famous to put an estate plan in place. An estate only refers to what you own: Financial accounts, real estate and possessions.

“It has nothing to do with how wealthy you are,” said Lori Anne Douglass, a trusts and estates attorney in New York.

Mapping out guidelines in advance helps ensure that, upon your death, your wishes are carried out and that family squabbles don’t devolve into destroyed relationships.

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