Aretha Franklin: Handwritten will found under sofa cushion to be examined by expert

The will is one of three that each contradict one another, leaving Franklin’s $80m fortune in limbo

Adam White
Wednesday 07 August 2019 08:19 BST
Aretha Franklin's last performance

A handwritten will found stuffed beneath a sofa cushion in Aretha Franklin’s Detroit home will be examined by a handwriting expert to prove its validity.

Franklin’s family had claimed when she died last year that the soul legend did not leave behind a will, but lawyers for her estate revealed in May that three wills have been unearthed since then.

Two written in 2010 and discovered in a locked cabinet declared that Franklin’s niece Sabrina Owens and son Theodore White II would be co-executors of her estate. But one written in 2014, which was found under a sofa cushion, saw the names of Owens and White scratched out, with Franklin apparently wanting her son Kecalf Franklin to serve as representative of her estate, which is speculated to be worth $80m.

The 2014 will, however, is hard to decipher, with notes written in margins and text scribbled out with pen. Lawyers for Franklin’s estate have additionally said “there is no basis” to believe Kecalf Franklin has the skills to administer the estate.

Now a handwriting expert will examine the 2014 will, with a Michigan judge also declaring this week that Franklin’s estate is being placed under court supervision while an investigation is pending.

Franklin died in August 2018 at the age of 76, after suffering a pancreatic tumour.

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