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The Queen of Soul Didn’t Have a Will

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When Aretha Franklin passed away last month, she left behind a musical legacy that spanned more than six decades.

She also left behind an expensive legal mess for her family.

The Queen of Soul, you see, died without having created a will. According to a CNN story, Franklin has four sons who have filed legal documents “listing themselves as interested parties” and a niece who has requested that the court appoint her as an estate representative.

Franklin’s lawyer reportedly asked Franklin “constantly” to create a trust. “But she never got around to it” — just like 60 percent of Americans. Including my dad.

Next month is National Estate Planning Month.  Your next step: Start educating your prospects about the importance of writing a will.

Tell them the Aretha Franklin story. Urge them not to be in the majority of Americans who leave a mess for their families to sort out. Check out PlannedGiving.com for resources to help you — our Estate Planning Guide and Will Kit, for example.

It’s true, planned giving can get complicated. But marketing them shouldn’t be. Don’t psych yourself out thinking about launching an entire planned giving Program, capital P. Your “program” can be as simple as two steps:

  • Teach your people how important it is to create a will.
  • Ask them to include you in it.

Do just one small thing to promote planned gifts, like adding a simple sentence to your email signature line or posting the story about Aretha Franklin to your LinkedIn (feel free to share mine — planned.gifts/nowill).

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