It’s been about 2 and a half years since the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, left this earth and made her transition. The legendary soul singer passed away after battling with a form of pancreatic cancer, leaving behind 4 sons. Originally thought to have passed away without creating a formal will to properly divide her assets, it looks as though a holographic will has now come into play.
Franklin’s death surely rocked the world as for decades the “Respect” singer was praised and lauded as one of the greatest of all time. Impacting not just the world, her family surely felt the after-effects. Her four sons filed paperwork that their mother had died intestate, meaning without a will. Upon this action happening, the state usually will divvy up assets among remaining descendants.
Left to handle Franklin’s estate was her niece, Sabrina Owens, whom her family unanimously agreed to place in that position. However, things turned more haywire once Owens made the decision to resign from being the head of her aunt’s estate.
Three handwritten wills were found in Aretha’s Detroit suburban household, two of them discovered in a locked cabinet and one that was found in between couch cushions. According to filings, two of them were dated in 2010, with the latest one having a March 2014 date.
When Aretha Franklin died last August, family and lawyers said they believed she didn’t have a will.— NPR (@NPR) May 22, 2019
On Monday, three handwritten wills found in her Detroit-area home were filed in probate court. https://t.co/tMDhWGjStn
Michigan law states that under circumstances where it is an intestate death, her assets would have been divided equally among her four sons. With the discovery of the wills, which an expert has determined is indeed the handwriting of Franklin, this throws a wrench into everything and have sent the family into a legal frenzy.
Two of her sons have since reportedly contested the documents, while Michigan laws view the will as holographic, meaning handwritten without a witness. A holographic will must be dated, signed by the testator, and be in the testator’s handwriting in order to be considered valid.
Meanwhile, Owens has moved forward with her plans to resign. In her letter, she details the very close relationship she had with her aunt, as well as the final stages of her life that they shared. She also revealed that six months before her death, Owens “quietly started drafting the blueprint for her homegoing service.” Owens says that she accepted the executor role “under two important conditions”: “no fractured relationships” are to be created within the family and that disagreements wouldn’t end up in court. “Both of which have occurred,” she wrote.
It has now been reported that a Detroit lawyer who has “idolized her” by the name of Reginald Turner has been chosen to be the temporary executor. “I’ll work hard for you,” Turner reportedly said to Franklin’s son Ted White at the end of the hearing.