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It is not clear what the dollar value is of Franklin’s song catalog, Los Angeles attorney Don Wilson said. Wilson has worked with Franklin on entertainment matters for the last 28 years. He said Franklin retained ownership of her original compositions, such as “Rock Steady” and “Think.”
“I was after her for a number of years to do a trust,” Wilson said. “It would have expedited things and kept them out of probate, and kept things private.”
Related: Photos: Aretha Franklin through the years
Sabrina Owens, Franklin’s niece, asked the court to appoint her as the personal representative of the estate.
“I just hope it doesn’t end up getting so hotly contested. Any time they don't leave a trust or will, there always ends up being a fight.”
Franklin died of advanced pancreatic cancer Aug. 16. She will be buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, where Rev. Franklin, her brother Cecil Franklin; sisters Carolyn Franklin and Erma Franklin; and nephew, Thomas Garrett are entombed. After public viewings of her body, a private funeral will be held Aug. 31 at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit.