What Was Aretha Franklin’s Net Worth At the Time of Her Death?

Aretha Franklin's Net Worth

Aretha Franklin, known as the “Queen of Soul,” was an American singer, songwriter, and musician. She was born and reared in the city of Detroit, Michigan. Aretha Franklin had an estimated net worth of $80 million USD at the time of her death in 2018. This amount takes into account the value of her likeness, song repertoire, and royalty stream.

Aretha Franklin’s iconic songs “Respect,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” and “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” made her a household name. Aretha Franklin was born and died in the city of Detroit, Michigan. According to Billboard, she is still one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 75 million albums worldwide.

Franklin died with a large fortune, so it’s hardly unexpected that she left a sizable inheritance to her four boys.

That isn’t the only issue that has been raised concerning her estate and the people who will inherit it. If you want to know what was Aretha Franklin’s Net Worth when she died then read the post thoroughly.

Aretha’s Early Life

Aretha Louise Franklin was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee. Barbara (née Siggers) Franklin was a soprano and pianist, and her father, Baptist clergyman Clarence LaVaughn “C. L.” Franklin, was a circuit preacher. She was born in Memphis, Tennessee, at the family’s home at 406 Lucy Avenue.

Franklin had a large family; her parents had four children together, in addition to children from their previous marriages. Franklin’s entire family relocated to Buffalo, New York, when she was three years old, before eventually settling in Detroit, Michigan. Her father became the pastor of the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit.

Franklin’s parents had a troubled marriage, owing to her father’s numerous affairs, and they divorced in 1948. Aretha’s mother moved back to Buffalo with Aretha’s half-brother, Vaughn, although she still visited her other children in Detroit on a regular basis. She died in 1952, however, after having a heart attack.

As a result, numerous women in the neighborhood, including Franklin’s grandmother, raised Franklin and her siblings. Franklin was a sophomore at Detroit’s Northern High School when she dropped out.

Franklin’s Career

Franklin began singing at a young age at her father’s church, and when she was twelve years old, he began managing her. He took her on his “gospel caravan” trips, where she sang in various churches along the way, and he also helped her obtain her first recording contract with J.V.B. Records. “Never Grow Old,” her first song for J.V.B. Records, was released in 1956, followed by many singles and the album “Spirituals” the following year (1956).

She continued to sing and perform gospel music, spending summers on the gospel circuit in Chicago. When she was sixteen years old, she even went on tour with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (she would later go on to sing at his funeral in 1968). Franklin, however, decided to pursue a pop music career when she reached eighteen.

Franklin’s father assisted her in relocating to New York, as well as producing the demo that landed her a record deal with Columbia Records in 1960. Her debut Columbia song, “Today I Sing the Blues,” was released in September 1960 and went on to reach the Top 10 on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Sellers chart. In January 1961, Franklin released her first secular album, “Aretha: With The Ray Bryant Combo.” Her debut song from the album, “Won’t Be Long,” is charted on the Billboard Hot 100.

She went on to release several more albums with Columbia, although she struggled to find commercial success throughout her time there. In November 1966, she transferred to Atlantic Records after her contract with them expired. “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” her debut record with Atlantic, was a tremendous hit, reaching No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, giving her her first top-ten pop single.

Franklin’s songs include “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools,” “Ain’t No Way,” “Think,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and “I Say a Little Prayer,” among others. She was the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s first female inductee. Franklin was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1979 and a Kennedy Center Honors medal in 1994.

She has won 18 Grammy Awards in a variety of genres, as well as two Honorary Grammy Awards. Several of her tracks have been charted in the Billboard “Top 40.” On Billboard’s R&B singles list, she has twenty tracks that have reached number one. She is also one of the most successful musical performers of all time, with 75 million albums sold worldwide.

Personal life details of Franklin

Franklin was the mother of four sons and daughters. Franklin had her first two children, Clarence Franklin and Edward Derone Franklin, when she was thirteen and fifteen years old, respectively. Franklin would frequently visit her grandmother and sister Erma in Michigan, where they were raised.

Ted White Jr., Franklin’s third child, was born in 1964 to Franklin and her then-husband, Theodore “Ted” White. Franklin and her road manager, Ken Cunningham, had their youngest child, Kecalf Cunningham, in 1970.

During her lifetime, Franklin married twice. Ted White was her first spouse, whom she married in 1961. They divorced in 1969 after their divorce was formalized in 1968. Glynn Turman, an actor, was her second spouse. They married in 1978, divorced in 1984, and separated in 1982. She got engaged to her longtime companion Willie Wilkerson in 2012 (they had previously been engaged twice), however, she later called off the engagement.

Aretha Franklin’s Net Worth At the Time of Her Death

Aretha Franklin’s estate is estimated to be worth between $18 million and $80 million, including houses, automobiles, furs, and jewelry (via The Detroit News). However, according to the singer’s longtime lawyer, David Bennett, she owed $8 million in taxes at the time of her death.

Franklin’s family couldn’t discover a will when she died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76 on August 16, 2018. As a result, her four sons were expecting equal parts of the estate. Sabrina Owens, Franklin’s niece, was chosen executor of the estate (via The New York Times).

Then, in 2019, three unofficial handwritten documents dating from 2010 to 2014 were discovered in Franklin’s residence, in an unexpected twist (via The New York Times). These documents apparently revealed how she wanted her assets dispersed, one of which was supposedly discovered under some couch cushions.

According to The New York Times, the veracity of these newly discovered documents is being hotly contested. According to The Guardian, a fourth will, apparently dating from 2018, has been uncovered, further complicating matters. The legitimacy of the numerous documents, as well as potential ownership of the estate and its assets, will be determined in a trial in August 2021.

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