Where there’s a will, there’s a way, but where there’s four wills? Well, there’s no way those furs are getting divvied up anytime soon. A fourth will attributed to Aretha Franklin has surfaced in Detroit, according to the Free Press. The typed will was reportedly drafted with the law firm Dickinson Wright in 2018, making it the most recent document. However, it was never signed by Franklin. A filing made in Oakland County Probate Court includes a contract with the law firm signed by Franklin in December 2017, along with allegedly handwritten letters to the firm discussing the details of the will. Ted White II, Franklin’s second-youngest son, made the filing, which claims the document turned up “late in 2019.”
Franklin was originally thought to not have a will when she died in August 2018, before three separate handwritten wills were found in her home in 2019. Two of the wills were dated 2010, with another dated 2014. Franklin’s family has been litigating the validity of the wills, with a jury trial currently delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chief among the family’s concerns are who would represent Franklin’s estate, with youngest son Kecalf Franklin pushing for the role, as designated to him in one of the wills found in Franklin’s home. White, however, disagreed with that move, and the will he filed requests the representative role be split equally among himself, Kecalf, and Edward Franklin, Franklin’s second-eldest son. (Edward previously supported Kecalf being named representative.) Her eldest, Clarence Franklin, has unspecified special needs, and the new will calls for a trust to be set up for him.
As for the rest of the new will? It would split much of Franklin’s $6.7 million in assets among the three younger sons, with cars also specifically going to Kecalf and Edward. As for the furs? Franklin’s clothing would be split between her niece, Sabrina Owens (who resigned as representative of the Franklin estate in January 2020), and cousin, Brenda Corbett.