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Beloved performer Aretha Franklin entertained music lovers across Tennessee for decades. Now, she is leaving behind one last message for her fans — do not forget about estate planning. It was recently revealed that Franklin did not have a will, trust or any type of estate plan at the time of her death, leaving the future of her estate up in the air. 

No one is quite sure why Franklin did not establish a comprehensive estate plan. The current federal estate tax kicks in after $11.18 million, and Franklin’s estate is worth an estimated $80 million. Careful planning through trusts and various other documents may have helped minimize the amount of a taxable estate, and now her heirs could see large portions of their inheritances eaten up by federal estate taxes. 

Aside from the financial consequences of not having a will, there is also time to consider. Franklin is not the first high-profile musician to pass on without a will. Prince’s estate is currently worth an estimated $200 million, but in the two years since his death his heirs still have not seen anything of their inheritances. Aside from this being a significantly long time to go without receiving potentially helpful financial inheritances, it can also be an emotional strain on surviving family members. 

Estate planning does not have to be complicated. Indeed, failing to create a comprehensive plan may cause more trouble for others by dragging out the probate process and leaving their inheritances in a state of uncertainty. Using wills and trusts, people in Tennessee can outline asset distribution, guardians for minor children and so much more.