Aretha Franklin’s handwritten will is legitimate, jury finds after years of probate battle

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Aretha Franklin

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Aretha Franklin before an appearance at the White House in 2015. Credit: Pete Souza

Nearly five years after Aretha Franklin’s death, a Michigan jury has officially ruled that a 2014 handwritten will left by the Queen of Soul is indeed legitimate.

This high-profile development in the half-decade legal battle between Franklin’s children came to light only recently in reports from local media and the Associated Press. Background: Franklin’s niece Sabrina Garrett-Owens was named personal representative of the “Respect” singer’s estate in 2018.

And before resign From the early 2020 position, Garrett-Owens found three handwritten wills: one dated June 2010, one dated October 2010, and a third dated March 2014. The first two documents had been locked in a cabinet, according to the court with filing chips, while the latter were “under.” the cushions on the couch in the living room”.

As the marathon confrontation unfolded in the courtroom, Kecalf Franklin and Edward Franklin made it clear that they were convinced that 2014 “holographic” The will was in effect, while another of Franklin’s four children, Ted White Jr., opted in favor of the 2010 will. (Clarence Franklin, Aretha’s last son, allegedly has special needs, lives under guardianship, and must be provided with capital from the sizable estate according to each will.)

As for the key differences between the older pair of wills and the 2014 will, as well as the reasons for the dispute, according to the 2010 documents, Edward and Kecalf “would have had to take business courses and earn a certificate or degree” to obtain theirs Inheritances, according to the AP transcription of the difficult-to-read text.

Kecalf and the “Think” singer’s grandchildren are also in the 2014 will – which should definitely secure income from Aretha’s music for all four sons allegedly is expected to inherit a multi-million dollar home in Bloomfield Hills.

The jury reportedly took less than an hour to reach their verdict, and next the two sides will discuss whether certain provisions of the 2010 will should be honored and whether Kecalf should become executor.

“We won. Sweet justice. Sweet justice. For my mother,” Kecalf told local media outside the courtroom after the jury’s decision, refuting the idea that he had argued with Ted.

“Well, my brother, he wanted everything to be split evenly – which is what I wanted, before I realized there was a will, a 2014 will. And once I understood that, all I wanted was that the my mother’s last wishes fulfilled, that’s it.”

In another media discussion at the courthouse, Kecalf said specified that he was “just trying to juggle everything” and mentioned longer-term plans to develop his mother’s brand, including by releasing lines of merchandise.