Could Aretha Franklin's newly discovered, handwritten wills hold up in court?

Brenda Watkins
May 22, 2019

At the time of her death last August of pancreatic cancer, lawyers and family members said the Queen of Soul had no will, but three handwritten versions were discovered earlier this month, according to the Detroit Free Press. The two wills that were found inside the cabinet were written back in 2010 and a third will written in 2014 was found under the cushions of a couch. A hearing is scheduled for June 12.

The wills were presented to Franklin's four sons and their lawyers, but a compromise on whether the wills were valid or not could not be reached as two of the sons did not agree to the validity of the wills.

Her estate was valued at $80 million at the time of her passing, and by MI law, was to be split between her four sons, Ted White Jr., Kecalf Franklin, Edward Franklin and Clarence Franklin. No one could believe that the 76-year-old multi-millionaire music icon didn't leave behind a will, but now it's being reported that Franklin isn't as irresponsible as some have alleged. Kecalf is against plans to sell a piece of land next to the singer's MI home for $325,000.

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Judge Jennifer Callaghan in April approved the hiring of experts to appraise Franklin's assets and personal belongings, including memorabilia, concert gowns and household goods.

Bennett filed papers in Michigan's Oakland County court that confirmed she was not married and had four sons (Clarence Franklin, Edward Franklin, Kecalf Franklin and Ted White Jr.) between the ages of 48 and 63, according to the AP.

In December the USA tax agency filed court documents saying the singer owned more than US$6 million in back taxes and some US$1.5 million in penalties.

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