It’s been nearly five years since the world lost the legend that is Aretha Franklin. After she left behind two different wills, her sons are now headed to court as the battle surrounding her estate ensues.
According to VIBE, Aretha’s final wishes were not made clear through a formal, typed memo. Instead she left two handwritten versions of a will, which were found in her home after her death. And because the state of Michigan allows handwritten amendments such as “scratch-outs” and “scribbles,” the legal process around who her estate will be left to has been a tricky one.
Aretha's Alleged Wishes
Per the outlet, the first will was written in 2010 and upheld that her son Ted White II would benefit the most from the late singer’s estate, with her niece, Sabrina Owens, listed as a co-executor with White. This document required that two of her sons, Kecalf Franklin and Edward Franklin, “take business classes and get a certificate or a degree,” in order to reap the benefits from her success.
Another document, created in 2014, favors her sons Kecalf and Edward. What’s more, this version of Aretha’s wishes has Kecalf as executor, not Ted. The request for business classes is also missing. Additionally, it states that the “Respect” crooner’s Bloomfield Hills home in Detroit, MI — worth $1.1 million — would go to Kecalf and his grandchildren.
In both wills, Aretha stipulated that her oldest son, Clarence, who lives under a guardianship, would be regularly supported.
“Two inconsistent wills cannot both be admitted to probate,” Kecalf’s lawyer, Charles McKelvie, said in a court document that favors the 2014 will. “In such cases, the most recent will revokes the previous will.”
On the other hand, an attorney for Ted noted that the 2010 document was notarized and signed, which was not the case for the updated 2014 will.
“If this document were intended to be a will there would have been more care than putting it in a spiral notebook under a couch cushion,” Ted’s attorney Kurt Olson said.
Heading To Court
An official trial will kick off on Monday (July 10), with millions of dollars worth of the Queen of Soul’s possessions left as inheritance — items include jewelry, gowns, furs, property, and royalties.