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Aretha Franklin’s Sons Awarded Ownership of Her Estate With Help Of Handwritten Will Found in Couch

BY Abena Dzaka November 29, 2023 10:07 PM EDT
Photo Credit: Facebook @Aretha Franklin ..-

Aretha Franklin’s sons have been granted ownership of her estate after a handwritten will discovered in some couch cushions were found to be legally binding.

Four months after a jury determined that Aretha Franklin’s will, which was discovered scribbled on the back of her sofa, was valid under Michigan law, her sons were given ownership of her former residences.

The late singer’s sons were granted ownership of her estate on Monday by a judge supervising her estate. The judge based this decision on a handwritten 2014 will that was found hidden among couch cushions.

Franklin signed it and inserted a smiley face into the letter “A.” During the same time in 2019, the judge discovered the singer’s handwritten 2010 will at her suburban Detroit home. This will take precedence over it.

The verdict was rendered four months after an Oakland County Probate Court jury found that, despite its hard-to-read content, the four-page document was legitimate under Michigan law, according to information, Franklin’s suburban Detroit home is where the will, signed with the letter “A,” was discovered in 2019.

In 2018, Franklin passed away from pancreatic cancer. She was seventy-six. The singer’s estate was estimated by The New York Times to be worth $18 million at the time of her passing. Three of her four sons got into a legal dispute because she didn’t have a formal will.

Aretha had no idea that her four sons would fight in court for five years to determine which of her two presumed wills was hanging there.

The suburban Detroit home of Franklin’s mother will be given to her youngest son, Kecalf Franklin. The proceeds from one of Franklin’s Detroit homes, which sold for $300,000 prior to the wills battle, will go to Ted White.

The conservator of the estate is going to divide the remaining assets to Franklin’s family.

Information that became available following the decision states that all four sons will share copyrights and royalties from Franklin’s music.

Franklin enjoyed decades-long global fame, primarily due to her hits from the late 1960s, including Think, I Say a Little Prayer, and Respect.

Her record sales over the course of six decades exceeded 75 million, making her one of the top-selling artistes in the industry.