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Aretha Franklin's family could battle over her estate

California fans of Aretha Franklin may be interested in information that emerged just after the singer's death on August 16. The "Queen of Soul," as she was known to millions, died after a long battle with cancer surrounded by family, but reportedly some members of that family began a battle over her estate just after she passed on.

According to reports, Franklin was set to marry her longtime partner, a Detroit firefighter, in 2012, but her four sons feared that her beau was out to steal their inheritance. Franklin broke the engagement and the two never married, but they continued their relationship and lived together until her death.

News of Franklin's declining health came just days before her family reported that she had died of pancreatic cancer. Shortly after her death, reports began to surface that her sons and her partner were already battling over her estimated $80 million estate. Sources close to the family say that the sons want to keep the money in the family while a source close to Franklin's partner says that he is entitled to a share of her fortune.

A living person makes a will in order to ensure that his or her wishes are honored after death, but sometimes those wishes can be called into question, and courts may end up interpreting the deceased's true intentions. Inheritance disputes can involve allegations against people close to the person who died. For example, someone who is named in a will might be accused by others of having undue influence over the decedent or having coerced them into putting something in their will. A trustee or executor might also be accused of mismanagement of assets or breach of duties.

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