Aretha Franklin: 3 Handwritten Wills Discovered at her Home: Report

By Tiffany Meier

Months after the “Queen of Soul” died, three handwritten wills were discovered at the home of Aretha Franklin, a lawyer said.

The wills were discovered at her Detroit-area home on Monday, May 20, according to The Associated Press.

Two of the wills are from 2010, while a more recent one from 2014 was found inside a spiral-bound notebook underneath the cushions in the living room, according to the report.

The latest one from 2014 is proving hard to decipher as the four pages are covered in scribbles and crossed-out words in the margins, according to NPR. The two wills dated from 2012 were found inside a locked cabinet.

David Bennet, Franklin’s lawyer for over 40 years, filed the wills on Monday, to see if they’re legal under Michigan law. A hearing is scheduled for June 12.

While the wills have been reviewed by Franklin’s four sons and their lawyers, Bennet said a deal wasn’t reached as to whether to consider any of them valid, according to The Associated Press.

Two of Franklin’s sons object to the new wills.

In a separate court filing, Kecalf Franklin claimed that his mother said in her 2014 will that she wanted him to serve as the estate’s representative. He is also against the plans to sell a piece of land next to the “Queen of Soul’s” Michigan home for $325,000, according to The Associated Press.

For the time being, Franklin’s niece Sabrina Owens remains the personal representative for the Franklin estate.

Owens said in a statement to The Associated Press that she “remains neutral and wishes that all parties involved make wise choices on behalf of their mother, her rich legacy, the family, and the Aretha Franklin estate.”

Aretha Franklin, star on the Atlantic record label
American soul singer Aretha Franklin, a star on the Atlantic record label. (Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

Franklin died on Aug. 16 of pancreatic cancer. She was 76. As previously reported, she passed away in her Detroit-area home surrounded by friends and family.

At the time, her publicist confirmed her death to the Associated Press and Rolling Stone.

“It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of Aretha Louise Franklin, the Queen of Soul,” Franklin’s publicist Gwendolyn Quinn said in a statement to Rolling Stone.

Aretha Franklin performs onstage
Aretha Franklin performs onstage at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Commemorates its 25th Year And Honors Founder Sir Elton John During New York Fall Gala at Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, on Nov. 7, 2017. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

“Franklin … passed away on Thursday morning, Aug. 16, at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, Michigan, surrounded by family and loved ones,” Quinn added in the statement. “In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.”

Known for such hit songs as “Respect” and “Chain of Fools,” Franklin was also the first female singer to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Quinn added in the statement, “We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters, and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”

Aretha Franklin
A person holds a program during the funeral service for Aretha Franklin at Greater Grace Temple, on Aug. 31, 2018. (Paul Sancya/AP)