A previous post on this blog discussed the fact that there has been considerable controversy surrounding the estate of Aretha Franklin, the world-famous singer who died about this time last year. As that previous post stated, some family members have questioned the actions of Ms. Franklin’s niece, who is serving as personal representative. These family members believe that someone else would be in a better position to control the finances of Ms. Franklin’s multi-million dollar estate.
After a contentious court hearing recently, the judge overseeing the estate decided to convert the case in to what is commonly referred to as a supervised estate. A supervised estate is one in which a personal representative can do very few things without first getting the court’s explicit approval.
To contrast, in what is commonly referred to as an unsupervised estate, a personal representative can do a lot of transactions up front without getting the approval of the court or giving interested parties the opportunity to object. It is instead incumbent on those who are concerned to complain about any alleged misconduct, and then only after the fact.
The court also gave permission for interested family members to hire handwriting experts in order to examine the three handwritten, or holographic, wills which were located in Ms. Franklin’s home. Many California probate matters also get handled through this state’s unsupervised probate process. In some cases, a family is going to want to keep an estate unsupervised, since supervised estates by their very nature involve more court time and more expense.
On the other hand, a beneficiary or creditor from the Redding area may find that a supervised estate is the best way to protect their financial interests. Such questions can be discussed with an experienced attorney.