Coates & Davenport, P.C.

Multiple wills confuse estate of legendary singer

Virginia residents should execute wills and other estate planning documents. That is because these testamentary tools may be used to distribute their estates and wealth according to their own intentions after they pass away. Without estate plans, an individual's assets will be given out according to a state's intestacy laws, which may run contrary to the decedent's wishes.

A will is one of the most foundational estate planning documents that a person can have and, in Virginia, there are certain requirements that must be fulfilled for a will to be valid. For example, a person should not have more than one executed and operational will. When more than one will exists, confusion is created as to which one should control the disposition of the decedent's property.

This problem is playing out with regard to the estate of Aretha Franklin. When she passed away, it appeared that she had at least two wills, and she named different parties to serve as the administrators of her estate in each one. In one will she named one of her son's and a niece, and, in the other, she named a different son. The family is now in court trying to figure out who may serve as the administrator or administrators of the late singer's estate.

When a will is amended or a new will is created, a party should take active steps to make sure prior wills have been destroyed. When questions regarding will modifications or changes come up, it is best that individuals get legal help relevant to their own cases.

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Coates & Davenport, P.C.
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Richmond, VA 23230

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