The Importance of a Will

august 29, 2018 | estate planning

By LegalShield Staff


It’s been widely reported that when legendary singer Aretha Franklin died, she did not have a Will or trust. Under Michigan law, the assets of an unmarried person who dies without a Will are divided equally among any children. Franklin is survived by four sons, and without a Will, her estate could potentially become tied up in drawn-out probate proceedings as disputes arise.


“The importance of a Will after the loss of a loved one is immeasurable,” states Frank Moscardini, a partner at Shimanovsky & Moscardini in Chicago and a LegalShield Legal Advisory Council member. “A Will is often a reflection of what was truly important to the deceased during his or her lifetime and provides some peace and guidance as the last written words of comfort, support and guidance that, as in life, family and friends are provided for in death. Most importantly, a Will often eliminates confusion amongst your family by spelling out your wishes and providing a detailed account to help your loved ones settle your affairs in a time of loss while also securing the legacy you want to leave.”


While the details of Franklin’s estate, assets and net worth have not yet been confirmed publicly, the news bears reminding that everyone needs a Will. Period. While there are now downloadable forms available online, you should still seek assistance from a lawyer. An easier way to get started is through a mobile app.


By signing up for a membership with an affordable legal services provider like LegalShield, which connects you to your own law firm in all 50 states, members can use the company’s acclaimed mobile app that includes a unique Will Questionnaire feature. Users are no longer burdened with submitting lengthy documents via snail mail or even email; they can simply tap “Prepare Your Will” on the app, complete the questions and submit to their law firm. Better yet, members are guaranteed a response within one business day.


“The world was saddened when Aretha died, with tributes to her pouring in from celebrities and musicians around the world. Now her loss is once again felt deeply, as her intentions for her legacy do not appear to be recorded in any clear way,” says David Coffey, Chief Digital Officer, LegalShield.

“The lesson that we all unfortunately get to learn again, having seen this with the artist Prince, is that Aretha’s intentions for what to do with this estate immediately became irrelevant because she apparently never wrote them down,” continued Coffey. “It's never too early to start a conversation about creating an estate plan, and Aretha’s death is a constant reminder that it is the only way to know for sure that one’s estate will be distributed in accordance with their wishes.”

“Americans face significant exposure to legal issues every day and it is appalling that so many people walk away from their rights because they simply didn’t plan to protect their rights, or they believe they can’t afford to protect them,” continued Coffey. “The color of justice should not be green, and through our plans, we seek to provide equal access to justice for all.”