August 27, 2018 by Administrator

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Hey there dfree® Family,

Welcome back to Tamika Talks!, my monthly check-in where you’ll get my thoughts on free and full living, of course from a dfree® perspective!

I know I sang last month, but I’m singing a different tune this month.  The Queen is gone!  The woman that made “Day Dreaming” sweet and being “A Natural Woman” cool.  The diva that taught us to “Rock Steady” and “Think,” while demanding “Respect” in a world being run by a “Chain of Fools.”  Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul, died peacefully in her home on Thursday, August 16, 2018.

In the midst of the world’s mourning and celebrating the life of our Black Royal Highness, the world stopped, literally. Funeral plans set, announced, and just a few days later the headlines switched up.  Reporters and would-be reporters everywhere resounded in a unanimous gasp…because while leaving behind more than $80 million in assets; The Queen did not leave behind a will or trust to move the millions, even from the heavens.  

Unfortunately, I wasn’t shocked or surprised.  Besides Michael Jackson, and now likely Jay-Z and Beyonce, this is the sad norm.  While many African American entertainers become legends in their own right, they fail to preserve properly and pass on their legacy.  With a few key decisions and three sheets of paper, the King of Pop set himself up for prosperous pop-culture dominance even after death. While Prince’s estate is still in limbo. The Carters can sit live, perform, and sleep comfortably knowing that when it’s all over, their loved ones will be set for life.  That’s hip-hop royalty…a rarity, for sure!

Without giving you the entire brief I wrote for Wills, Trusts, and Estates class on this very topic, I’ll give you the Cliff Notes version.

A will allows you to select an executor (the person responsible for managing your estate when you die) and distribute your assets to those that you love and even withhold them from those you don’t.

While a trust allows you to control your cash from the grave.  You set the parameters for how the funds in the trust will be managed, distributed, etc., and never will you have to worry about what you’ve acquired being wasted.

Medical directives, power of attorneys, and other estate planning essentials protect you and your assets should you become incapacitated at any point before death.

None of these tools are very complicated, but all of them are necessary if you want to keep the courts, and the country (clearly) out of your business!  (If you don’t have a will, the courts get to decide who gets what and how much, based on state intestacy laws).  

The good news for our Queen is that the law in Michigan allows for equal distribution of assets amongst her heirs.  So, both the law and Lord were on her side.  But the road to collecting millions won’t be swift. The court gets to determine who administers the estate.  The administrator then has to gather and account for all assets, take care of any outstanding debts, pay taxes and any outstanding debts, and then make distributions to the family.

While the world was/is up in arms about the state of Aretha Franklin’s affairs, I simply “Sa[id] A Little Prayer For [Her Family]” because It will be a journey.

I know it’s back to school time, and the kids are heading back into the classroom, I encourage you all to take stock of your stuff and your loved ones.  It’s never too early to get your affairs in order, no matter how much you have to leave behind.  “Ain’t No Way” to know when you’ll need it, so it’s better to be “One Step Ahead.”

Check out our In The BlackPodcast episode with Estate Planning Attorney, Olivia Stoner to learn more.

“R.E.S.P.E.C.T.” to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.  “Rock Steady” and rest easy. 

Big hugs and best wishes,

TS…The Free Black Girl

@TheFreeBlackGirl (IG)

@OGFreeBlackGirl (Twitter)

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