Aretha Franklin's Assets Were Stolen Prior to Her Death

In this Jan. 19, 1993 file photo, singer Aretha Franklin performs at the inaugural gala for President Bill Clinton in Washington. Franklin died Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, at her home in Detroit. She was 76. Throughout Franklin’s career, “The Queen of Soul” often returned to Washington - the nation’s capital - for performances that at times put her in line with key moments of U.S. History.
Photo: Amy Sancetta (Associated Press)

While the world continues to mourn the loss of Aretha Franklin, details continue to emerge regarding her final days, as well as the financial status of her estate.

Though back taxes remain a point a contention, WDIV Local 4 reports that the Queen of Soul was also the victim of theft. As local authorities confirm that a criminal investigation has been opened as a result of her Bloomfield Township home being burglarized prior to her passing.


“I have no detail on anything missing pre- or post-Aretha’s death,” family attorney Craig Smith said. “The house has high security and everyone was locked out unless escorted, post-death.”

The attorney for Franklin’s estate wrote the following in a filing in the Oakland Probate Court:

“The Bloomfield Township Police Department is conducting an on-going criminal investigation of the theft of Ms. Franklin’s assets prior to her death. Second, there is a dispute between the estate and Ms. Franklin’s ex-husband, the father of one of her heirs, regarding royalties. In either instance the time records and other materials requested may jeopardize these matters and should not be disclosed.”

Also of note, TMZ reports that the criminal probe includes unauthorized use of her funds. While it’s unclear exactly how much money is missing, the report was filed in June.

This news comes on the heels of the IRS claiming Franklin left almost $8 million in tax debt ($3 million of which her estate asserts has been paid since her passing), in addition to legal bills and other expenses that remain unpaid.


But while her estate sorts everything out, her legacy will be celebrated in the recently announced biopic Respect, directed by the award-winning Liesl Tommy (“Insecure”, “The Walking Dead”), written by Thelma & Louise screenwriter Callie Khouri, and starring vocal powerhouse Jennifer Hudson.

“As a filmmaker there is no greater gift than to be able to bring this transcendent chronicle of a woman’s fight for self-realization to visual life with the enormous talents of the soulful Jennifer Hudson, Callie Khouri, and our incredible producers,” Tommy said in a statement.


“The story of Aretha Franklin’s journey from child prodigy in Detroit to international supernova is rife with struggle and triumph, making her life one of the great American stories of all time.”

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Jay Connor

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for ya'll to stop putting sugar in grits.