When soul legend Aretha Franklin died recently, she left behind an army of devoted fans and a musical legacy that stands tall alongside the greatest artists of all time.
It has since been reported that she also left behind a personal fortune of more than $80m and, crucially, did not make a Will to specify how her considerable estate should be divided up after her death.
When a person dies without leaving a Will, they are said to have died intestate, which in turn triggers a set of intestacy rules that will govern what happens after their death.
Not only does this route complicate matters for your family and loved ones at an already difficult time, it also means that important decisions about what happens to your assets and your family is taken out of your hands.
Beyond financial issues, there may also be crucial questions around how you provide for your family once you have gone. In the case of Aretha Franklin, she left behind four adult children, one of whom has significant special needs.
While we can safely assume that Aretha’s family are not in receipt of benefits, for everyday families with vulnerable beneficiaries, benefit entitlement is an important consideration as an inheritance can have a major impact on what they receive and so it often pays to request that money is put into a trust.
When someone dies intestate when married with children, it can also become very complicated when their estate exceeds £250,000 as only a set amount can pass directly to their spouse, leaving the remainder tied up in trust.
So, whether you’re an internationally renowned Queen of Soul or your vocal talents extend only to the shower, it’s vital to make a Will and avoid any undue heartache for those you love most.