A Michigan jury has ruled that a handwritten document from late singer Aretha Franklin, found in her couch following her demise in 2018, is a valid will.
This is a significant development in a dispute that has pitted her sons against each other.
According to AP News, Kecalf Franklin and Edward Franklin scored a win.
Their legal representatives had argued that Franklin’s 2014 documentation should take precedence over another will found around the same time in a locked cabinet at her Detroit residence.
The jury delivered their verdict in under an hour following a concise trial that started Monday.
Could The Dispute Among Aretha Franklin’s Family Finally Be Over?
Following the announcement, Kecalf and Edward received warm embraces from Aretha Franklin’s grandchildren.
“I’m very, very happy. I just wanted my mother’s wishes to be adhered to. We just want to exhale right now. It’s been a long five years for my family, my children.” Kecalf Franklin
The global icon passed away five years ago at 76, leaving no formal, typewritten will.
However, the discovery of documents with scribbles and cryptic passages emerged in 2019 when a niece rummaged through the home for records.
The fact that the 2014 documents were found in a notebook stashed in couch cushions does not make them any less significant, argued Kecalf and Edward Franklin’s lawyers in their closing statements.
Kecalf and Edward stood together against their brother Ted White II, who backed the 2010 will.
White’s attorney, Kurt Olson, highlighted the security of the earlier will, locked and hidden away.
He argued for the will’s importance compared to papers tucked away in a couch.
The jury upheld that Aretha Franklin indeed signed the 2014 version.
Still, there will be further discussions on whether some provisions of the earlier will should be enacted and if Kecalf Franklin could become executor of the estate.
Judge Jennifer Callaghan instructed all parties to file briefs and participate in a status conference next week.
Aretha Franklin’s estate managers have handled bills, settled tax debts, and generated revenue through music royalties.
The will dispute, however, has lingered.
Hopefully, there’s finality now, and Aretha Franklin’s family can move on.
Was it notarize?? It’s legal to write a will and leave in your home. You don’t have to file it in court. I suggest everyone do it.
— BeyCardiheauxs ??? (@BeyCardiheauxs) July 11, 2023
This happens alot in the Black Community. We need to educate our community the importance for leaving a Will, or having Living Trusts for that matter. Even if it’s basic items, we should still leave instructions on what is going to happen. Family will fight over the smallest…
— DJ SMS (@itsDJSMS) July 12, 2023