By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
A Michigan jury has deemed a handwritten note by the late Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, her official last will, and testament.
The jury rendered its decision after an intense legal battle that pitted family members against one another over the inheritance of the legendary singer’s estate.
In the fall of 2019, Franklin’s niece made a remarkable discovery while rummaging through the corners of the singer’s suburban Detroit home.
Nestled beneath a couch cushion, she stumbled upon a cache of three handwritten documents.
Among them was a particularly significant piece from 2014, which would ultimately take center stage in the courtroom drama.
Franklin’s two sons, Kecalf and Edward Franklin, enlisted the assistance of their legal representatives to champion the cause of the 2014 note, ardently contending that it should supersede a separate will crafted in 2010.
Their brother, Ted White II, stood firm, citing the 2010 will, safeguarded under lock and key within the confines of Franklin’s sprawling home.
The crux of the contentious dispute lay in the divergent provisions outlined in the two conflicting wills.
The 2014 note stipulated that Kecalf and Franklin’s grandchildren would inherit her prestigious Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, residence.
The 2014 will, in contrast, conspicuously omits the requirement that the sons obtain a certificate or degree in business, which was a requirement in the 2010 version.
Both wills bestowed upon Franklin’s four sons the privilege of benefiting from her vast musical royalties and copyrights, ensuring their ongoing connection to her enduring legacy.
Franklin’s fourth son, Clarence Franklin, reportedly resides in an assisted living facility and wasn’t involved in the litigation.
The courtroom saga captivated the nation as fans and legal experts awaited the jury’s verdict.
After carefully weighing the evidence and considering the merits of both sides’ arguments, the Michigan jury validated the handwritten note as binding.