Briefcase

Briefcase: Entertainers Dying without Wills

Guest: Michael Olivas

When legendary singer Aretha Franklin died, she left behind several relatives, throngs of fans and a $80 million estate – but she had no will. Michael Olivas, with the University of Houston Law Center, is an entertainment law expert and explains how this could be possible.

“The Queen of Soul is among many entertainers who died without a will or estate planning, most notably, Prince, Bob Marley and Sonny Bono,” Professor Olivas said. “They lost the chance to dispose of assets in a manner consistent with their intent.”

“Two years after his death, only a handful of Prince’s archived songs have been released,” Olivas noted.

“Aretha’s four children will have to sort out her complex business affairs. This will take years in the courts,” Olivas added “the amazing thing is that both of these musical giants were involved in many legal cases and controversies over their careers, so they knew better. We all should learn from their mistakes and be sure that we all have wills.”

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