Aretha Franklin's lawyer explains why singer did not have a will at time of her death

The late Aretha Franklin left no will or trust for her reported $80 million estate, and her family could now face lengthy court proceedings when dividing up her fortune.

Franklin's attorney of 28 years, Don Wilson, confirmed to The Associated Press  that there were no plans in place for the Queen of Soul's wealth.

"I tried to convince her that she should do not just a will but a trust while she was still alive,” Wilson said. “She never told me, ‘No, I don’t want to do one.’ She understood the need. It just didn’t seem to be something she got around to.”

According to Michigan law, Franklin's four sons, Clarence Franklin, Edward Franklin, Kecalf Franklin and Ted White Jr, will divide their mother's assets equally in the absence of a will. Franklin's niece, Sabrina Owens, has accepted the role of executor for the estate, and the case is before Judge Jennifer Callaghan.

13 PHOTOS
Famous faces at Aretha Franklin's funeral
See Gallery
Famous faces at Aretha Franklin's funeral
Omarosa Manigault-Newman arrives for the funeral service for Aretha Franklin at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., August 31, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Omarosa Manigault-Newman arrives for the funeral service for Aretha Franklin at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., August 31, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Former US President Bill Clinton takes a picture with singer Ariana Grande and her fiancee Pete Davidson at Aretha Franklin's funeral at Greater Grace Temple on August 31, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)
Singer Ariana Grande and her fiancee Pete Davidson attend Aretha Franklin's funeral at Greater Grace Temple on August 31, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)
Former US President Bill Clinton (L) and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) attend Aretha Franklin's funeral at Greater Grace Temple on August 31, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R) Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and former US President Bill Clinton attend Aretha Franklin's funeral at Greater Grace Temple on August 31, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 31: Actress Jennifer Lewis speaks with the media as she enters Greater Grace Temple to attend soul music icon Aretha Franklin's funeral on August 31, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. Dozens of musicians and dignitaries are scheduled to either speak or perform at the singer's funeral, including former President Bill Clinton, Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, Ariana Grande, Chaka Khan, Smokey Robinson, Jennifer Hudson, and Cicely Tyson. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 31: Smokey Robinson (glasses) arrives at Greater Grace Temple to attend soul music icon Aretha Franklin's funeral on August 31, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. Dozens of musicians and dignitaries are scheduled to either speak or perform at the singer's funeral, including former President Bill Clinton, Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, Ariana Grande, Chaka Khan, Smokey Robinson, Jennifer Hudson, and Cicely Tyson. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 31: Jennifer Holiday speaks with the media as she enters Greater Grace Temple to attend soul music icon Aretha Franklin's funeral on August 31, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. Dozens of musicians and dignitaries are scheduled to either speak or perform at the singer's funeral, including former President Bill Clinton, Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, Ariana Grande, Chaka Khan, Smokey Robinson, Jennifer Hudson, and Cicely Tyson. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Faith Hill performs, Greater Grace Temple First Lady Crisette M. Ellis (C) and former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (R) listen, during Aretha Franklin's funeral at Greater Grace Temple on August 31, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)
Chaka Khan arrives at the funeral service for Aretha Franklin at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., August 31, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Ariana Grande performs during Aretha Franklin's funeral at Greater Grace Temple on August 31, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 31: Singer Ariana Grande performs at the funeral for Aretha Franklin at the Greater Grace Temple on August 31, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. Franklin died at the age of 76 at her home in Detroit on August 16. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The singer maintained ownership of songs she wrote, but some of her most famous hits, like "Respect," were owned by other writers or performers, and any money from royalties would go to them. Other reported assets include property in the Detroit area estimated to be worth at least $2 million.  

The music icon died from advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type on Aug. 16 at age 76. 

On Friday, Detroit's Greater Grace Temple hosted a funeral fit for a queen, attended by friends, family and fans. Attendees included former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Cicely Tyson, and Tyler Perry, with performances from Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Faith Hill, and Stevie Wonder, and many more.

The funeral, or "homegoing" as it was often referred to, followed a week of tributes to the legendary singer, that included a public memorial and viewing for fans to pay respects in person.

48 PHOTOS
Aretha Franklin through the years
See Gallery
Aretha Franklin through the years
American singer Aretha Franklin looks over her shoulder, her hair pulled up into a beehive style, 1961. Franklin was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (Photo by Metronome/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1962: Soul singer Aretha Franklin poses for a portrait in circa 1962. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1964: Soul singer Aretha Franklin poses for a portrait in circa 1964. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of Aretha FRANKLIN; Posed portrait of Aretha Franklin (Photo by RB/Redferns)
circa 1960: Studio portrait of American singer Aretha Franklin, wearing a beaded top. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1964: Soul singer Aretha Franklin works in the studio with an engineer in circa 1964. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
THE ANDY WILLIAMS SHOW -- Aired 5/4/69 -- Pictured: Aretha Franklin (Photo by Fred A. Sabine/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE ANDY WILLIAMS SHOW -- Aired 5/4/69 -- Pictured: Aretha Franklin (Photo by Fred A. Sabine/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
CIRCA 1965: Soul singer Aretha Franklin poses for a portrait in circa 1965. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Aretha Franklin performs at Martin Luther King Jr Benefit Concert on June 28, 1968 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
American soul singer Aretha Franklin, a star on the Atlantic record label. (Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 28: Soul singer Aretha Franklin performs onstage at the Soul Together concert on June 28, 1968 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JANUARY 09: Soul singer Aretha Franklin sings in the Atlantic Records studio during 'The Weight' recording session on January 9, 1969 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
MUSCLE SHOALS, AL - JANUARY 9: Singer Aretha Franklin smokes as cigarette as she works in the studio by a microphone at Muscle Shoals Studios on January 9, 1969 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: TOP OF THE POPS Photo of Aretha FRANKLIN (Photo by Ron Howard/Redferns)
384820 04: Singer Aretha Franklin with show host and producer Don Cornelius. Franklin was one of many entertainers who performed on 'Soul Train' in the 1970''s, part of the Soul Train 30th Anniversary 'Divas and Kings 2000 & Beyond.' (Photo by 2001 Tribune Entertainment)
Aretha Franklin (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
NEW YORK - JULY 01 : Singer Aretha Franklin performs on stage as part of the Newport Jazz Festival held in New York City in July 1973. (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)
Portrait of American singer and musician Aretha Franklin, 1973. (Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images)
MUHAMMAD ALI VARIETY SPECIAL - Airdate: May 16, 1975. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) ARETHA FRANKLIN
1976 AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS - Airdate: January 31, 1976. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) L-R: OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN;GLEN CAMPBELL;ARETHA FRANKLIN
Publicity photo of soul music singer Aretha Franklin, June 4, 1977. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1978: Soul singer Aretha Franklin attends an event in circa 1978. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - 1980: Singer Aretha Franklin poses for a portrait in 1980 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)
Portrait of American musician Aretha Franklin as she poses backstage during ChicagoFest, Chicago, Illinois, August 3, 1981. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
1983 AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS - Show Coverage - Airdate: January 17, 1983. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) ARETHA FRANKLIN
American musician Aretha Franklin performs on stage at the Hyatt Hotel during the 1985 NBA All-Star Game celebration, Chicago, Illinois, April 18, 1985. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
NEW YORK- JULY 5: Aretha Franklin at a party in New York City on July 5, 1989. (Photo by Waring Abbott/Getty Images)
Singer Aretha Franklin at Grammy Awards. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Aretha Franklin Attending a party at the Hilton Hotel, New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images)
American musician Aretha Franklin performs on stage at the Park West Auditorium, Chicago, Illinois, March 23, 1992. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
Aretha Franklin during Grand Opening of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, 1995 at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, OH, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Aretha Franklin (Photo by Kevin Mazur Archive 1/WireImage)
WASHINGTON, : US President Bill Clinton (R) along with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton presents singer Aretha Franklin (C) with the 1999 National Medal of Arts and Humanities Award 29 September, 1999, at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) AFP PHOTO/Stephen JAFFE (Photo credit should read STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 01: RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL Photo of Aretha FRANKLIN, Aretha Franklin performing at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on September 20, 2003 (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - DECEMBER 17: Aretha Franklin attends Joe Blount 50th Birthday Celebration at Cipriani 42nd street on December 17, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Christian Grattan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Airdate 12/11/2009 -- Pictured: Aretha Franklin appears on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 06: Former Kennedy Center honoree Aretha Franklin arrives at the 32nd Kennedy Center Honors at Kennedy Center Hall of States on December 6, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 06: Aretha Franklin poses backstage at the hit play 'The Mountaintop' on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on December 6, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -12/24/12 - The legendary Aretha Franklin stops by the newly-rechristened syndicated talk show, LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/Disney-ABC via Getty Images) ARETHA FRANKLIN
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - OCTOBER 06: Aretha Franklin performs in concert at the Etess Arena on October 6, 2012 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Photo by Donald Kravitz/Getty Images)
Aretha Franklin attends the 'Selma' premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City. ?? LAN (Photo by Lars Niki/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: Singer Aretha Franklin attends the 2014 Billboard Women In Music Luncheon at Cipriani Wall Street on December 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 30: Singer Aretha Franklin attends the 102nd White House Correspondents' Association Dinner on April 30, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/FilmMagic)
Detroit native Aretha Franklin sing the National Anthem prior the game between the Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings in Detroit, Michigan USA, on Thursday, November 24, 2016. (Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 07: Aretha Franklin performs onstage at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Commemorates Its 25th Year And Honors Founder Sir Elton John During New York Fall Gala at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 07: Aretha Franklin performs onstage at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Commemorates Its 25th Year And Honors Founder Sir Elton John During New York Fall Gala at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 07: Aretha Franklin performs onstage at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Commemorates Its 25th Year And Honors Founder Sir Elton John During New York Fall Gala at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/WireImage)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

RELATED CONTENT:

Jennifer Holliday Closes Out Aretha Franklin's Funeral With Powerful Recessional

Aretha Franklin Fans Pay Their Final Respects to Singer With Public Viewings in Detroit

Aretha Franklin Leaves No Will for $80 Million Estate

Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.