Three Handwritten Wills Discovered In Aretha Franklin's Home

attends the "Selma" New York Premiere at Ziegfeld Theater on December 14, 2014 in New York City.

Three Handwritten Wills Discovered In Aretha Franklin's Home

The late icon's estate was worth $80 million at the time of her passing.

Published May 21st

A lawyer working with Aretha Franklin's estate discovered three handwritten wills from the late Queen of Soul, according to the Associated Press. The wills have been brought forth before a Michigan judge to determine their legitimacy. At the time of her passing in August, a team of lawyers and family initially claimed that no wills had been left behind.

  1. 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. A third copy written inside a spiral notebook and dated from March 2014 was found under a set of cushions in a sofa at the Detroit home of the late Motown icon. 

    Her estate was valued at $80 million at the time of her passing, and by Michigan law, was to be split between her four sons, Ted White Jr., Kecalf Franklin, Edward Franklin and Clarence Franklin.

    Benet shared the discovery with the "Respect" singer's four sons, who are sole heirs of the estate, and their lawyers. According to the report, two unnamed sons released a statement through the estate objecting against the finding. 

    Since her passing at the age of 76 from complications with pancreatic cancer, the 18-time Grammy winner's legacy is still going strong. Immediately following her death, the R&B soul singer's album sales skyrocketed across streaming platforms. A biopic starring Jennifer Hudson is also in production with more projects currently in the works. Bennett told the Associated Press that the estate is currently considering “many continuing projects ... including various television and movie proposals.” 

  2. As for the newly uncovered documents left behind from the Queen of Soul, a hearing is set for June 12 in Michigan to determine the validity of the three wills. 

Written by Danielle Ransom

(Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images)


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