A Michigan United States jury has said a document handwritten by American singer-songwriter and pianist Aretha Franklin found in her couch after her 2018 death is a valid Michigan will.
This is said to be a critical turn in the dispute that has turned her sons Kecalf Franklin and Edward Franklin against each other.
The jury described the development as a victory for Kecalf and Edward whose lawyers had argued that the papers dated 2014 should override a 2010 will that was discovered around the same time in a locked cabinet at the Queen of Soul’s home in suburban Detroit.
After the verdict was read, Aretha Franklin’s grandchildren stepped forward to hug Kecalf and Edward.
Kecalf Franklin in appreciation of the verdict said:
“I’m very, very happy. I just wanted my mother’s wishes to be adhered to,”
“We just want to exhale right now. It’s been a long five years for my family, my children.”
In a closing argument, lawyers for Kecalf and Edward Franklin said the fact that the 2014 papers were found in a notebook in couch cushions did not make them less significant.
One of the lawyers Charles McKelvie said to the jury “You can take your will and leave it on the kitchen counter. It’s still your will,”.
The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin who died August 16th, 2018 was a global music star known for her hit songs like “Think,” “I Say a Little Prayer” and “Respect.”
Though she did not leave behind a formal typewritten will when she died five years ago at the age of 76; documents with scribbles and hard to decipher passages emerged in 2019 when a niece searched the singer’s home for records.