Aretha Franklin’s four sons dispute two handwritten wills

A family dispute about the legendary singer Aretha FranklinHer final wishes will go to court on Monday, the latest chapter in a years-long battle to divide the late Queen of Soul’s estimated $80 million fortune.

Franklin passed away in 2018 after a six-decade career in the music industry, leaving behind a legacy that includes more than 75 million records sold, 17 Top 10 hits, and 112 chart-topping singles. Billboard. Even so, when she died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76, she left few plans for her earthly possessions, including a home, as well as lucrative royalties and license property.

According to the Detroit Free Press, in 2021, four different wills were discovered during a search of Franklin’s home in Detroit, including three handwritten notes and a typed but unsigned document issued by a company. The law was drafted in 2017. Under Michigan law, other documents—even those “with scribbles, bullets, and hard-to-read passages”—can serve as a will, according to the law. Associated Press notes.

Although various documents acknowledge that the estate should be divided among her four sons, the details of which of her children will ultimately control her estate remain legally obscure. . A document, dated 2010, named for a son White Theodore and granddaughter Sabrina Owens as a co-performer, the LA Times reported. It is also conditioned that her other two sons, Kecalf Franklin, And Edward Franklin“must take business classes and get a certificate or degree” before they can claim their inheritance.

Another 2014 note listed Owens as an officer on duty, but White’s name was crossed out. Instead, Kecalf was appointed co-executive, and it was his family and grandchildren who inherited Franklin’s Bloomfield Hills home, the so-called “jewel” of the estate. In that document, business classes for her beneficiaries are not mentioned, but a guarantee of support for her eldest son, Clarence, To be. (According to a 1991 Orlando Sentinel report, Clarence, born when Franklin was 12 years old, lived with schizophrenia and spent her adult life in a foster home.)

White’s attorney described the 2014 document as “just a draft” and asserted that the 2010 note was signed and notarized. Noting a search throughout Franklin’s home for a will, he said that if the 2014 document, found underneath some of the pillows, “was intended to be a will, it would have been more prudent to place it.” into a spiral notebook under a couch cushion.”

The two factions will meet in court starting next week, chaired by judge Jennifer Callaghan, who has overseen the property dispute since Franklin’s death.

Ultimately, the jury will decide which documents – both of which contain lots of sidenotes and crossed out passages – should be honored.

For her part, Owens, who has been on public service since Franklin’s death, resigned in 2020 to “smooth a rift in my family,” she added. “Despite my best efforts, my role with the estate has become more controversial with heirs. With my aunt’s deep love for family and desire for privacy This is not what my aunt wants for us, nor what I want.”


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