Three handwritten wills were found in Aretha Franklin's suburban Detroit home a few months after the death of the "Queen of the Soul", including the one that was discovered under the living room cushions, a lawyer said Monday.
The latter is dated March 2014 and seems to lend the famous singer's assets to family members. Some scripts are extremely difficult to decipher, however, and the four pages have scratched words and sentences at the edges.
Franklin was 76 years old when he died of pancreatic cancer last August. The singer confirmed her cancer diagnosis at the end of 2010 and challenged the odds by surviving the disease for eight years. Lawyers and family members said he had no will, but three handwritten versions were discovered earlier this month. Two since 2010 have been found in a locked cabinet after identifying a key.
The 2014 version was inside a spiral notebook under pillows, said a lawyer for Franklin's estate, David Bennett.
Bennett, who was Franklin's lawyer for more than 40 years, deposited his wills on Monday. He told a judge that he is not sure they are legal under Michigan law. The hearing is scheduled for 12 June.
Bennett said that the wills were shared with Franklin's four children or their lawyers, but that no agreement was reached that someone should be considered valid. A family declaration says that two children are against the will.
Sabrina Owens, administrator at the University of Michigan, will continue to serve as the personal representative of the estate.
"It remains neutral and wants all parties involved to make wise decisions on behalf of their mother, her rich heritage, her family and Aretha Franklin's estate," the statement reads.
In a separate judicial trial, Franklin's son, Kecalf, said his mother wanted him to be a representative of the estate in 2014. He opposes the project to sell a piece of land near his mother's Oakland county house for $ 325,000 .
Judge Jennifer Callaghan in April approved the recruitment of experts to evaluate Franklin's personal possessions and objects, including memorabilia, concert dresses and household items. The Internal Revenue Service is verifying many years of Franklin's tax returns, according to the estate. He filed a request in December for more than $ 6 million in taxes.
Franklin's star, meanwhile, has not vanished since his death. He received an Pulitzer honorary award in April, cited posthumously for his extraordinary career. A movie from the 1972 concert, Amazing Grace, was released with much praise by the critics.
The estate is involved in "many ongoing projects … including various television and film proposals, as well as dealing with various claims of creditors and related disputes," said Bennett.