A Michigan judge has allocated properties owned by the late legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin to her sons based on a 2014 handwritten will discovered between couch cushions. The decision came after a jury in the Detroit area affirmed the document’s validity four months ago, despite its somewhat messy appearance. The ruling replaces a prior 2010 handwritten will that had surfaced earlier in the estate proceedings.
The judge’s ruling outlines that Kecalf Franklin will inherit a property mentioned in the 2010 will, now valued at more than its initial $1.1 million assessment in 2018. Another of Franklin’s sons, Ted White II, who favored the 2010 will, was granted ownership of a Detroit house. However, the estate sold the property for $300,000 before the emergence of conflicting wills. A third son, Edward Franklin, was awarded a property under the disputed 2014 will.
Still, the judge noted a need for more clarity in the 2014 will regarding the recipient of a property valued at over $1 million. Despite the developments, disputes persist over handling Franklin’s music assets, with the will suggesting income sharing among her sons.
During an upcoming January status conference, the parties will try to address unresolved matters in the ongoing saga of Franklin’s estate. “This was a significant step forward. We’ve narrowed the remaining issues,” Charles McKelvie, an attorney for Kecalf Franklin, told the Associated Press.
The Queen of Soul, who died in 2018 at 76, sold more than 75 million records worldwide and left an indelible mark on the music industry with her powerful and soul-stirring voice. Her iconic career spanned several decades, and she became synonymous with hits like “Respect,” “Natural Woman,” and “Chain of Fools.” Franklin’s remarkable contributions earned her numerous accolades, including 18 Grammy Awards, making her one of the most awarded female artists in Grammy history.