The hidden side of politics

Aretha Franklin’s estate may owe the IRS $8 million. A look at music icons who died without a will

Reported by CNBC: 

“Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, who died in August of pancreatic cancer at age 76, reportedly owed the IRS nearly $8 million in back taxes and penalties at the time of her passing. Franklin who also had no will or trust when she died, is under IRS audit — but an attorney for her estate disputes reported amounts owed. Whatever the truth, it’s apparent Franklin, like Prince and many other music superstars, died in some degree of financial disarray — despite being worth an estimated $80 million as of this year.

Prince, who died of an accidental drug overdose at age 57 in April 2016, also had no will or trust — or any tax shelter of any kind — so his estimated $200 million estate ended up being subject to as much as 50 percent in federal and state taxes, Billboard magazine reported last year. Even the estate of Michael Jackson has wrangled with the IRS over the value of its vast holdings, and therefore estate taxes owed, since the music legend’s passing in 2009.

Here’s a look at 11 music superstars sang or strummed their hearts out on the way to worldwide fame and untold fortune — only to fail to protect their portfolios and pass them safely on to heirs by neglecting to draw up a last will and testament. As the stories of these celebrities attest, everyone — rich or poor, famous or not — can make bad financial decisions.

“Some of the most important financial planning recommendations do not fall within the realm of investment, insurance or retirement planning, but instead involve estate planning with wills, powers of attorney and advance directives,” Tim Maurer, wealth advisor and director of personal finance for Buckingham and the BAM Alliance and author of “Simple Money,” told CNBC in April 2016.

“We avoid the discussion because it involves a topic we’d rather not consider, but while the probability of your imminent passing is low, the damage done from a lack of estate planning is so significant that it demands our immediate attention.”

— By CNBC’s
Kenneth Kiesnoski