Aretha Franklin’s Sons Go to Court to Settle Who Gets to Handle her Assets

Aretha Franklin’s Sons Go to Court to Settle Who Gets to Handle her Assets

Aretha Franklin’s Sons Go to Court to Settle Who Gets to Handle her Assets

When the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin passed away on August 16, 2018, she did so with no formal will. There were two handwritten wills that Franklin penned at different times and now, her sons are going to court to determine which one will be used to direct how her estate will be handled.

According to The Associated Press, next week, the four sons of Franklin will gather to find out which handwritten document will be used as a guide to the fortune and possessions of the legendary soul singer.

Based on Michigan law, a formal formatted will is not necessary as other documents that may be created by the person can be used as legal paperwork in these matters. There were two documents discovered by the family that was written in 2010 and again in 2014 by Franklin. One son is going up against the remaining three in this dispute to find out which document will be the one the family has to abide by.

Ted White II feels that the first will, which was written in 2010, should be the one that the family follows. Brothers Kecalf Franklin and Edward Franklin believe that the family should follow instructions left by their mother in 2014. Both documents were discovered in the soul singer’s Detroit home months after she passed away at the age of 76.

Knowing that their mother had no will written, the brothers knew they would most likely have to split the assets left by their mother. A niece, Sabrina Owens, agreed to be the executor of the estate. In the spring of 2019, Owens reported that a handwritten will that was dated 2010 was discovered in a cabinet. There was also another handwritten will, dated 2014 that was found inside a notebook under cushions at her home.

There were changes made from the original will.

Both documents stated that the sons would share income from music and copyrights. The one from 2010 listed White and Owens as co-executors and states that Kecalf and Edward Franklin “must take business classes and get a certificate or a degree” to benefit from the estate.

Yet,  the 2014 document had White’s name crossed out as executor and replaced him with Kecalf. Kecalf and the grandchildren would get Aretha’s main home in Bloomfield Hills. Those differences are what the dispute is about.

“Two inconsistent wills cannot both be admitted to probate. In such cases the most recent will revokes the previous will,” Charles McKelvie, Kecalf’s attorney said in a court filing in favor of the 2014 document.

Yet, White’s attorney, Kurt Olson, stated that the 2010 will was notarized and signed, adding that the one from 2014 “is merely a draft.”

“If this document were intended to be a will there would have been more care than putting it in a spiral notebook under a couch cushion,” Olson said.

Now, next week, the court will decide the fate of the opposing documents that Aretha wrote for the benefit of handling her assets in death.

Aretha Franklin’s Sons Go to Court to Settle Who Gets to Handle her Assets

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