Singing superstar, Aretha Franklin -- the Queen of Soul -- passed away in 2018, leaving fans shocked and saddened.
When it was confirmed that the 76-year-old "Respect" singer didn't have a will, the music community was even more surprised.
Over the course of the past four years, "bitter squabbling" occurred as Franklin's four sons and other outside players debated whether any of the handwritten documents found in the late songstress's effects could constitute a legitimate last will and testament.
A 2019 New York Times report explained that when Franklin died, and her relatives believed she had no will, Michigan law declared that her estate would be divided evenly among her four children.
With that understanding, "the sons approved the appointment of a cousin, Sabrina Owens, as the estate’s personal representative, or executor."
The article went on to note, however, that once the handwritten "wills" were discovered, the distribution of Franklin's estate evenly among her children was jeopardized, as none of the handwritten documents were identical.
“The wills changed everything,” Charlene Glover-Hogan, an attorney for Kecalf Franklin, Aretha's youngest son, expressed during a contentious August 6, 2019 hearing.
Now, after three more years have gone by, the issues with Franklin's estate have lingered, particularly in regard to the IRS.
Franklin's IRS estate problems were different than those that plagued Prince's heirs -- dealing specifically with the value of his assets for estate tax purposes -- or Michael Jackson's image rights controversy.
Instead, in this case, the Internal Revenue service claimed that Franklin did not pay income taxes for many years during her lifetime.
Don’t income tax obligations die with you? Usually not, especially not when there is a solvent estate with assets ample enough to pay off the government. The Franklin estate was estimated to be worth approximately $80 million with ongoing earnings from music, licensing, and royalties. But during her lifetime, she had IRS issues with tax liens and more.
The Detroit Free Press confirmed that Franklin's tax debt has been settled, finally opening the door "for Franklin’s four sons to finally take the driver’s seat in her post-death affairs and fully benefit from revenues flowing into her estate — which would mean millions of dollars at last getting into their hands."
Have you been following the Aretha Franklin IRS saga? What do you think?