Estate planning isn’t just for the rich and famous.

When James Brown died in 2006, his will left most of his estimated $100 million estate in a charitable trust that would fund scholarships for disadvantaged children. But because the estate became mired in litigation, no scholarships would be bestowed for at least 15 years.

Prince died in 2016 without a will, leaving his would-be heirs to battle for six years before reaching a settlement in August 2022 on how to divide his $156 million estate. Charities he supported during his life lost out.

Aretha Franklin died in 2018, leaving two wills behind. Three of her four sons would square off in court to determine which version was valid when she passed. After five years of legal wrangling and a two-day trial, a jury needed an hour to decide that a will found in her couch reflected her final wishes. Learn more

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