Aretha Franklin's Lost Wills Found In A Couch, Locked Cabinet

By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta

May 22, 2019

Aretha Franklin In Concert

Aretha Franklin's estate has filed three of the late-icon's newly discovered wills in court in Michigan.

Franklin died last August without a formal document, expressing her wishes for her legacy.

The wills were handwritten and found in Franklin's home by her niece Sabrina Owens. The documents could be cause for dispute among the singer's family members, who previously did not know any wills existed.

The Associated Press reports that Owens serves as the estate's personal representative. Earlier this month, she reportedly discovered a key to a locked cabinet in Franklin's home. Inside the cabinet were two wills from 2010. One says a will from years earlier is "no good." The other is 11 pages long and is signed by a notary.

The same day, Owens found a notebook under the living room cushions. Inside was another will dated March 2014.

The more recent document is four pages long and appears to divide assets for family members, including the Queen of Soul's four sons and several grandchildren. But AP reports Franklin's handwriting is difficult to read, and many of documents appear to be rough drafts.

There are words crossed out on many of the pages and arrows directing the reader to text in the margins.

A lawyer for Franklin's estate clarified that Michigan law allows for wills that "aren't completely compliant" — such as ones not prepared by an attorney — to hold up in court, so the wills could be admissible regardless of their state.

In the absence of a will, Franklin's estate would be divided equally among her four sons.

The total value of the Queen of Soul's estate has yet to be determined.

Photo: Getty Images

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