The battle over the famous rhythm and blues singer Aretha Franklin's estate is continuing. The latest move involved one of Ms. Franklin's sons asking the court hearing the case to be appointed personal representative, helping and then eventually replacing Ms. Franklin's niece. The niece has been acting as executor since last year.
According to the son, Ms. Franklin's niece has not handled her role as personal representative properly. He points to the fact that she missed at least one deadline on filing an important document with the court.
He also indicated that the niece has not been on top of affairs relating to the value of the estate's intellectual property, including the ongoing market for Ms. Franklin's life story and her music. Other family member oppose the son's request.
This is not the only issue that has thrust the ongoing probate litigation in to the national spotlight. For instance, at first, those involved in the estate thought Ms. Franklin had left no will. However, in recent months, several handwritten, or holographic, wills were found in Ms. Franklin's home. Now, there is a dispute over which will, if any, are valid.
While Ms. Franklin's estate is being handled in the courts of another state, these issues could easily happen in a California probate matter as well. California allows for the admission of holographic wills in certain circumstances. Likewise, an interested person can seek to have an executor removed from authority over a California estate if the executor is not exercising his or her duties properly.
These sorts of cases are complicated from a legal standpoint. Moreover, they are often times delicate affairs, since the longer probate litigation goes on, the more of a financial and emotional drain it is on one's family. For this reason, getting the help of an experienced California probate attorney is important.