Aretha Franklin’s handwritten will was deemed valid by a Michigan jury on Tuesday, nearly five years after it was discovered tucked away in a sofa.
The document from 2014, which was found in the Queen of Soul’s Detroit home after her 2018 death, settled the debate over how the legendary singer’s estate will be divided, the New York Times reported.
Lawyers for the musician’s sons Kecalf and Edward Franklin argued that the handwritten will should override a 2010 will that was found around the same time in a locked cabinet.
According to the outlet, the earlier document stipulated that Kecalf and Edward “must take business classes and get a certificate or a degree” to benefit from the estate.
The 2014 will, however, did not include an education requirement.
Instead, the later document stated that three of Aretha’s sons, including Ted White Jr., would split her music royalties equally. Kecalf and his children would also inherit her home in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and her vehicles.
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White, the singer’s middle son, had argued that the 2010 will should stand. That document, per the New York Times, was more detailed and included Aretha’s signature on every page.
The outlet reported that the sons have agreed to support Clarence, the music icon’s first child, who according to court documents has a mental illness.
When the “Respect” hitmaker died from pancreatic cancer on Aug. 16, 2018, it was unknown that she had left the wills behind until they were unearthed by her niece in 2019.
At the time of Aretha’s death, her estate was worth $80 million. It’s now estimated to be around $6 million due to years of legal fees and unpaid taxes.
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