Battle for Aretha Franklin’s Legacy: The New Will and a Fresh Ruling

How a Handwritten Will from 2014 Redefined the Queen of Soul's Legacy Map

A recent court decision has determined that Aretha Franklin’s sons will inherit the iconic singer’s real estate.

This comes after a review of a handwritten deposition by Franklin in 2014, discovered between the cushions of her couch, Associated Press reports. The ruling follows a court decision four months prior, affirming the validity of the document despite its difficulty in interpretation due to its handwritten nature, signed with the letter “A” and a smiling face.

The renowned singer, who passed away in 2018, had not left an official will, but these two documents emerged from her home in 2019. The new handwritten will from 2014 supersedes a previous one from 2010, found by Franklin’s heirs after her death. The court decision marks a significant victory for Franklin’s youngest son, Kecalf, who argued that the new document indicated his mother’s desire for him to take control of her estate.

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Kecalf had the support of his brother, Edward, but faced resistance from Franklin’s third son, Ted White, and the guardian of her first son, Clarence, who has special needs. Ted White II, one of the heirs, will inherit a house that was sold for $300,000 before the discovery of the wills. Additionally, Edward receives property according to the handwritten will from 2014.

Charles McKelvie, Kecalf’s attorney, stated, “This was a significant step forward. We’ve narrowed the remaining issues.” This decision opens a new chapter in the management of Aretha Franklin’s estate and sparks discussions about the role of wills and tradition in the inheritance of artists.

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