3 handwritten wills found in Aretha Franklin’s home
  • Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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3 handwritten wills found in Aretha Franklin’s home

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS / 2017

    In this photo, Aretha Franklin attends the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Gala in New York.

PONTIAC, Mich. >> Three handwritten wills have been found in the suburban Detroit home of Aretha Franklin, months after the death of the “Queen of Soul,” including one that was discovered under cushions in the living room, a lawyer said today.

The latest one is dated March 2014 and appears to give the famous singer’s assets to family members. Some writing is hard to decipher, however, and the four pages have words scratched out and phrases in the margins.

Franklin was 76 when she died last August of pancreatic cancer. Lawyers and family members said at the time that she had no will, but three handwritten versions were discovered earlier this month. Two from 2010 were found in a locked cabinet after a key was found.

The 2014 version was inside a spiral notebook under cushions, said an attorney for Franklin’s estate, David Bennett.

Bennett filed the wills today. He told a judge that he’s not sure if they’re legal under Michigan law. A hearing is scheduled for June 12.

Bennett said the wills were shared with Franklin’s four sons or their lawyers, but that a deal wasn’t reached on whether any should be considered valid. A statement from the family said two sons object to the wills.

Sabrina Owens, an administrator at the University of Michigan, will continue to serve as personal representative of the estate.

“She remains neutral and wishes that all parties involved make wise choices on behalf of their mother, her rich legacy, the family and the Aretha Franklin estate,” the statement said.

In a separate court filing, son Kecalf Franklin said Aretha Franklin wanted him to serve as representative of the estate in the 2014 will. He is objecting to plans to sell a piece of land next to his mother’s Oakland County home for $325,000.

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