Queen of Soul’s Last Note: Aretha Franklin’s sons receive property in 2014 handwritten will revelation

The judge presiding over the estate of the late Aretha Franklin has allocated real estate to the legendary singer’s sons based on a surprising discovery—a handwritten will from 2014 uncovered between couch cushions. The ruling, following a four-month validation process by a Detroit-area jury, upheld the document’s legality under Michigan law despite its challenging-to-decipher scribbles and passages. Notably, Franklin had personally signed the will, even adding a distinctive smiley face within the letter “A.”

This newly acknowledged 2014 will supersedes a prior handwritten version from 2010, also discovered in Franklin’s suburban Detroit residence in 2019. Under this recent decision, one of her sons, Kecalf Franklin, is set to inherit property that was valued at $1.1 million in 2018, described as the estate’s “crown jewel.” Meanwhile, another son, Ted White II, who had initially favoured the 2010 will, will receive a Detroit house, though it had already been sold by the estate for $300,000 before the conflicting wills emerged.

Edward Franklin, a third son, was awarded another property outlined in the 2014 will. 

The iconic singer, who succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2018, left behind four homes, sparking a posthumous dispute among her sons regarding the distribution of real estate and other assets. The fate of a property valued at over $1 million remains uncertain, with the judge stating that the 2014 will lacks clarity on its rightful recipient.

Despite this progress, the saga continues as a dispute persists over the handling of Aretha Franklin’s music assets, even though the will indicates that her sons would collectively share any income generated. A status conference is scheduled for January to address remaining issues in the estate. 

The iconic “Queen of Soul” left an enduring legacy with hits such as “Think,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” and “Respect” from the late 1960s.

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