There is no doubt that Aretha Franklin possessed enormous talent as a singer. She earned 18 Grammy awards, sold over 75 million records, won the Presidential Medal of Freedom, was the first women ever inducted into the Rock N’ Roll hall of fame, is listed as Rolling Stone Magazine’s 9th greatest artist of all time, and won a Pulitzer Prize… posthumously. Unfortunately, her success in life did not translate into a successful plan for her death


After Aretha died, much to the surprise of her friends and family, not one but two wills dated from 2010 were found in a locked cabinet in her suburban home. To make matters worse, the Queen of Soul had hastily scribbled a will in 2014 that was found under one of her sofa cushions (pictured at left).  The resulting confusion triggered a feud among Aretha’s family over the validity of the wills.

We are experienced in dealing with situations similar to the one faced by Aretha’s family.  For example, one of our clients and his lifelong friend, Sam, were friends for several decades and lived together in a house in Chicago.  When Sam was diagnosed with terminal cancer, our client took care of Sam and his everyday needs. In a gesture of deep gratitude, Sam executed a deed making our client a co-owner of the house they lived in and co-owner of several investment accounts. Unfortunately — and you hear this all the time — Sam did not have an estate plan, such as a basic will. When Sam passed away, distant relatives from another state filed an action in court to take the house and accounts away from our client.  Regrettably, cases like these are all too common.  Wealth acquired over a lifetime becomes the subject of litigation due to failure to prepare a legally adequate estate plan.

Don’t wait.  Without an estate plan, your friends and family may face unnecessary conflict, delay and expense as they attempt to determine how your estate should be distributed.  Contact us to start preparing your estate plan or if you are facing litigation regarding the assets of a deceased loved one.  Call (630) 560-1123 or visit

Attorney Antonio DeBlasio has been selected by Super Lawyers® in 2008 and in each year from 2014 through 2022.  No more than 5% of Illinois attorneys receive this distinction.  Mr. DeBlasio has over 27 years of experience as an Illinois attorney, representing businesses, individuals, employees, employers, estates and beneficiaries of estates in Illinois.  

While our firm has had success  for many clients, all cases are decided on their own merits.  Judges and juries decide the outcome of cases, not lawyers.  This blog post is not legal advice and should not be relied on by anyone as legal advice in their particular situation.  Furthermore, while our law firm welcomes communications via its website, please be aware that communicating any information to our law firm through its web site or via any other method without a formal engagement with the Firm does not constitute or create an attorney-client relationship between you (or any other users, senders or recipients) and the law firm.   Thank you.

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