Three handwritten wills found in Aretha Franklin’s home

May 22, 2019

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Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin

PONTIAC: 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 on Monday.

The latest one is dated March 2014 and appears to give the famous singer’s assets to family members. Some writing is extremely 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 located.

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

Bennett, who was Franklin’s lawyer for more than 40 years, filed the wills on Monday. 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 estate 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.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2019