Careful estate planning can prevent heirs from stealing assets from your estate. Aretha Franklin’s estate is a sad example.
Detroit area police told the Free Press that an active theft investigation was ongoing, involving Aretha Franklin’s suburban mansion. However, the investigation began prior to her death.
The 76-year-old Queen of Soul passed away from pancreatic cancer in August in her Detroit riverfront apartment. When she died, she still owned her 4,100-square-foot Colonial-style home in Bloomfield Township, Michigan, which is in the sights of the IRS.
Wealth Advisor says in its article, “Police investigate theft from Aretha Franklin’s estate,” that the theft investigation was first reported by The Blast, a celebrity news website claiming Franklin’s estate is fighting with Franklin’s 61-year-old son, Edward, who was born when Aretha was only 14.
Her son Edward has been attempting to get a court order to force the estate to provide monthly financial documents to his mother’s heirs. However, the estate won’t turn over the information because it contends such information could negatively impact the criminal investigation involving stolen estate property.
Late last year, the IRS filed a claim in the County Probate Court, alleging that the Franklin estate owed millions in back taxes and penalties. An attorney for the estate stated that it had repaid more than $3 million in back taxes, since Franklin’s death. It’s believed that Franklin owed more than $6.3 million in back taxes from 2012 to 2018 and $1.5 million in penalties.
The Oakland County court documents did not state the exact value of her estate, which is believed to be in the tens of millions.
Immediately after her death, Franklin’s mansion, which is part of a gated community, was listed for sale at $800,000. However, it was then taken off the market. The custom-built home features six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, white marble floors and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking two small ponds and a lap pool. The mansion also sports a sauna, a three-car garage and a jetted tub.
Franklin is said to have purchased the mansion for $1.2 million in 1997, according to The Detroit News. The home was built in 1990 and remodeled in 2002.
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Reference: Wealth Advisor (January 11, 2019) “Police investigate theft from Aretha Franklin’s estate”