Three Handwritten Wills Discovered In Aretha Franklin's Home

Lula Sharp
May 22, 2019

One will is reportedly dated March 2014, and appears to give Franklin'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.

It may have appeared initially that Aretha Franklin hadn't left any documents declaring her last wishes and how she wanted her assets divided when she passed away in August 2018.

The Associated Press reports that earlier this month, David Benet, a lawyer who has been working with Aretha for over 40 years, found two wills dated from 2010 locked in a cabinet.

David Bennett, Franklin's attorney of more than four decades, has asked the court to rule whether the three wills are valid under MI law.

The attorney filed the wills - which were discovered earlier this month - in court on Monday but he was unsure whether they were legally binding under MI law. A hearing is scheduled for June 12. She apparently hid three separate documents around her MI home, including under a sofa cushion and in a locked cabinet. A statement from the estate said two sons object to the wills.

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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.

Franklin's niece Sabrina Owens remains the personal representative for the estate for the time being. After Franklin's death, the estate paid at least $3 million in back taxes to the IRS; in December, the IRS filed a claim against the estate for more than $6 million. A 1972 concert film, "Amazing Grace, " was released with much praise from critics.

Meanwhile, Franklin's estate is involved in "many continuing projects ... including various television and movie proposals, as well as dealing with various creditor claims and resulting litigation", Bennett said. Bill Clinton described himself as an Aretha Franklin "groupie", saying he had loved her since college.

Aretha Franklin performing in New York City in 2012.

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