Jury Finds Aretha Franklin’s Will Found in the Couch is Valid

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Jury Finds Aretha Franklin’s Will Found in the Couch is Valid

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin passed away in 2018. Since that time, there are two handwritten Wills that have been found in her house and made their way into the spotlight. One was found in a cabinet and another in her couch. Recently, the handwritten Will found in the couch, has been deemed valid by a Michigan jury. That’s a critical point in the dispute her children are having regarding her estate, and has turned three of those four sons against one another.

Franklin’s youngest child, as well as her second-oldest child, were happy with the ruling. Their attorneys had been arguing that the Will, which was dated 2014, should override another Will that was discovered in a cabinet in Franklin’s home. The Will in the cabinet was dated 2010, indicating that the Will found in the couch was more recent. However, both were handwritten and somewhat hard to decipher, and no formal, typewritten Will has been found.

When Franklin passed away she had millions in unpaid tax debts and other bills, taking her estimated $80 million fortune at the time of her death down to just $6 million. Most of the concerns surrounding her estate have been settled, with the Will dispute remaining an area of unfinished business that has yet to be finally settled. Both Wills indicated that her four sons would receive income from her copyrights and music, but the 2010 and 2014 Wills differ in who receives her home, as well as other details.

The main argument between Franklin’s sons is that some believe Franklin would have handled the documents officially, and others believe the handwritten documents are fine and don’t need to be questioned. While Franklin was advised by her attorney to have a Will and other important paperwork in place, she was also very private. She may not have wanted to provide information about her estate to others, and could have written it down herself.

With the 2014 will ruled valid, it remains to be seen whether it will be contested, or whether her estate will finally be fully settled.

Is your estate plan current and complete? For help ensuring your estate is administered the way you would want, contact The Estate Planning & Legacy Law Center today.