April 14, 2024

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Judge awards Aretha Franklin’s estate to her children: NPR

Judge awards Aretha Franklin’s estate to her children: NPR

In this file photo taken on December 4, 2008, Aretha Franklin performs during the 85th annual Christmas tree lighting at the New York Stock Exchange in New York.

Mary Altaffer/AFP


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Mary Altaffer/AFP

In this file photo taken on December 4, 2008, Aretha Franklin performs during the 85th annual Christmas tree lighting at the New York Stock Exchange in New York.

Mary Altaffer/AFP

DETROIT – The judge overseeing Aretha Franklin’s estate has awarded estates to the late star’s children, citing a 2014 handwritten will found between sofa cushions.

The decision Monday came four months after a Detroit-area jury declared the document was a valid will under Michigan law, despite scribbles and several hard-to-read passages. Franklin had signed it and put a smiley face in the letter “A.”

The judge said the papers would invalidate a 2010 handwritten will found in Franklin’s suburban Detroit home around the same time in 2019.

One of her sons, Kecalf Franklin, will receive this property, which was worth $1.1 million in 2018, but is now worth more. One lawyer described her as a “crown jewel” before the trial last July.

Another son, Ted White II, who favored the 2010 will, received a house in Detroit, although it was sold by the estate for $300,000 before the conflicting wills came to light.

“Teddy is asking for the proceeds of the sale,” Kecalf Franklin’s attorney, Charles McKelvey, said Tuesday.

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Judge Jennifer Callahan granted the third son, Edward Franklin, another estate in a 2014 will.

Aretha Franklin had four homes when she died of pancreatic cancer in 2018. The discovery of the two handwritten wills months after her death led to a dispute between the children over what their mother wanted to do with her estate and other assets.

One of the properties, valued at more than a million dollars, is likely to be sold, with the proceeds shared by four children. The judge said the 2014 will did not clearly specify who should get it.

“This was an important step forward,” McKelvey said of the real estate saga. “We have narrowed down the remaining issues.”

There remains disagreement over how to handle Aretha Franklin’s musical assets, although the will seems to indicate that the children will split any income. A status conference with the judge is scheduled for January.

Franklin was an international star for decades, particularly known for his late 1960s hits such as “Think,” “I Say a Little Pray” and “Respect.”