Photo: Joe Ortuzar

Aretha Franklin’s Sons Awarded Real Estate

After extensive review of a 2014 handwritten will that was found hidden in the singer’s couch, a judge awarded Aretha Franklin‘s sons the musician’s real estate holdings.

The final court decision comes four months after a jury decided that the document was valid despite being hard to read, and that the handwritten document, that was signed with the letter “A” and a smiley face, overrides a will from 2010 that was found in 2019.

The verdict signified a major victory for Kecalf, Franklin’s youngest son, who’d been arguing in favor of the document’s validity that appeared to suggest the iconic soul singer – who did not leave a formal will – granted him control over her estate

Though Kecalf’s efforts were in direct opposition of Franklin’s third son, Ted White, along with the guardian for her eldest, special needs son, Clarence, Kecalf had the support of his brother and Franklin’s second eldest son, Edward.

According to the will, Kecalf will inherit a $1,100,000 property in the Detroit suburbs, while Ted White II was given an additional house previously sold for $300,00 by the estate before the wills emerged. Edward was also awarded a separate property thanks to the 2014 will.

An attorney for Kecalf, Charles McKelvie, told the Associated Press “This was a significant step forward. We’ve narrowed the remaining issues.”

The verified 2014 document discovered amongst the Queen of Soul’s couch cushions was one of two found in Franklin’s home in 2019, along with another 11-page document dated 2010. While all of Franklin’s sons agreed that the 2010 will was a valid, a vitriolic legal battle began over whether or not Franklin had actually signed the 2014 document, causing it to override the 2010 version. 

While each will seemed to indicate that Franklin wanted her four sons to divide the income from her music and copyrights, significantly different stipulations existed between the two. In the 2014 document, for example, Aretha appeared to bequeath the $1.1 million home to Kecalf, while the 2010 will divided Franklin’s assets more evenly amongst each her heirs.

Additionally, the 2010 doc included some conditions for Kecalf and Edward had they wished to take control of Franklin’s estate: The two “must take business classes and get a certificate or a degree,” wrote Franklin at the time – conditions the legendary songstress did not include in the 2014 document.

In total, Aretha Franklin owned four homes. She died in 2018 of pancreatic cancer.

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Author: Al Denté

Photo: Joe Ortuzar