Last year, the legend Aretha Franklin passed away at the age of 76. She didn’t leave behind a formal will. But now one of her family members has filed legal documents, claiming that she’s discovered three handwritten wills from Franklin around her house. Two were reportedly in a locked cabinet. The other was buried under a couch cushion.
According to the Associated Press, Franklin’s niece Sabrina Owens, the personal representative of Franklin’s estate, claims that she found a key in Franklin’s house. That key fit a locked cabinet, which housed two handwritten wills from 2010. One of those wills apparently claims that an earlier will is “no good.” Owens also found a notebook in Franlin’s couch cushions, and that notebook includes a four-page will, dated 2014. According to the Associated Press, that will “sets aside various assets for family members, including four sons and grandchildren, but is difficult to read.”
According to Michigan state law, a will has to be taken seriously even if it hasn’t been formally worded or stored. But things aren’t as clear with Franklin’s will, which may have been a rough draft. Experts will have to go over it closely to figure out exactly what she meant. Franklin’s various heirs have not yet come to an agreement about how to divide her assets according to that will. The estate could be worth millions, and some sort of protracted legal battle seems likely.
You can see scans of those newly discovered will here. They are indeed chaotic.