In August of this year, Aretha Franklin tragically passed away after complications from pancreatic cancer. The legendary singer had previously denied being ill years prior, saying she didn't even know where the rumors came from.
“I don’t know where ‘pancreatic cancer’ came from," she said in 2011. “I was sitting there reading the newspaper and it was saying someone in my family said that. No one in my family ever said that to anybody.”
When Franklin died, many wondered how her $80 million fortune would be split up. It was shocking to find out that she didn't have a will at all.
Because she didn't have a will, Michigan law states that all four of her children will equally split her estate. In theory, this will mean no drama between family members as every son gets an even cut.
Franklin's son Clarence has special needs, according to TMZ, and will require financial and "other forms of support" for the rest of his life, so it's interesting that there was nothing left behind to ensure this happens.
However, that money she left behind may not be going to her family after all, at least not all of it. In documents obtained by TMZ, the IRS is claiming that Franklin owed more than $6.3 million in back taxes from 2012 to 2018, and say she owes an additional $1.5 million in penalties.
TMZ says that according to one of Franklin's former lawyers, the "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" singer had undergone several audits since 2012, which is where these back taxes are stemming from. Oddly, however, one of the audits is from 2018, and that tax year isn't over yet.
David Bennett, attorney for Franklin's Estate, says Franklin paid off most of her debt before she passed, adding "The Estate is diligently working to resolve any remaining issues."
It's not the first legal trouble that has revolved around Franklin since her death.
One of her former lawyers Gregory Reed, claimed that they provided a number of services for the singer when she was alive, and while she was an excellent entertainer, the same could not be said about her bill-paying ability. Reed filed a lawsuit asking for almost $54,000 in back-pay for the work he did for Franklin.
Her current team of lawyers responded to these claims, saying "David J. Bennett, Esq., the attorney for The Aretha Franklin Estate is aware that Mr. Gregory Reed recently filed a claim and Mr. Bennett is looking into the matter.”