Following the discovery of a number of hand-written Wills found stuffed into the cushion covers of a sofa in one of Aretha Franklin’s luxurious mansions, a Michigan based judge has allowed a hand-writing expert to examine the alleged Wills.
This story is rumbling on, epitomising the disharmony that can be created when a professional Will is not written during the testator’s lifetime.
This case started off completely amicably with Franklin’s four sons being more than happy at having a quarter of the estate worth millions of dollars.
The four siblings also agreed that their cousin, Sabrina Owens, should be made executor because she was university educated and had the necessary skills having worked as a university administrator for many years.
Unfortunately, the speed bump arrived when an alleged Will was actually found.
Following the recent discovery of handwritten Wills being found in the famous soul and gospel singer’s suburban home in Detroit, the family has been arguing with each other over the validity and requests of Wills allegedly handwritten by Franklin before she passed away.
One of the Wills named her youngest son, Kecalf Franklin as the executor of her estate. However, other family members contest the Will and claim that Kecalf isn’t fit to handle such an important and valuable estate.
Consequently, Kecalf has since filed two court petitions seeking to be made an executor of his mother’s estate, alongside Franklin’s niece, Sabrina Owens as co-representative, who was appointed to the role last year – but with the intention to replace her in due course.
The Queen of Soul’s youngest son claims that Owens has “mismanaged the estate” and has “failed to perform a duty pertaining to office.”
According to documents, Kecalf confirms that Owens has not shared an inventory of his mother’s estate until four months after she had passed away. According to Michigan State Law, Owens should have prepared an inventory of Franklin’s property within 91 days following her appointment as a personal estate representative.
The document also alleges that Owens had not communicated details of the investigation into the appraised value of Franklin’s music catalogue or negotiations for television series and biography based on Franklin’s life.
During a recent hearing, Oakland County Probate Judge, Jennifer Callaghan, placed administration of the estate under court supervision.
Although this is all taking place in America the moral of the story is that using a professional Will writer can save time, cost and disharmony after the Testator has passed away.
If you would like to meet with one of our Consultants to discuss any of the issues raised in this article or any other Estate Planning topic please telephone 01732 868190 or click here.