Singer Aretha Franklin performs the national anthem before the Detroit Pistons take on the Los Angeles Lakers in game five of the 2004 NBA Finals on June 15, 2004 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Judge Could Consider Handwriting Expert For Aretha Franklin's Will

August 06, 2019 - 6:48 am
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PONTIAC (WWJ/AP) - A judge is expected to consider a request for a handwriting expert to examine wills discovered in couch cushions after Aretha Franklin's death.

A hearing is scheduled Tuesday in Oakland County Probate Court.

A handwritten 2014 document shows Franklin apparently wanted her son, Kecalf Franklin, to serve as the representative of her estate, which might be worth millions. But Franklin's estate have said "there is no basis" to believe Kecalf Franklin has those skills.

After Franklin's death last August her heirs agreed to put the estate in the hands of Franklin's niece, Sabrina Owens, who is a university administrator. Attorneys for Theodore White II, another son, said in a court filing that White should be named co-executor, along with Owens.

White and Owens' names appeared in a 2010 handwritten will but were crossed out in the 2014 document. White doesn't believe Franklin crossed out the names.

The 2014 will was found months after Franklin died under a few seat cushions in her living room. The four-page document sets aside various assets for family members, including four sons and grandchildren, but is difficult to read. Some writing is extremely hard to decipher, with words scratched out and phrases in the margins.

The value of Franklin's estate is not yet known, although it could be worth millions of dollars. Judge Jennifer Callaghan in April approved the hiring of experts to appraise Franklin's assets and personal belongings, including memorabilia, concert gowns and household goods. The Internal Revenue Service is also auditing many years of Franklin's tax returns, according to the estate. It filed a claim in December for more than $6 million in taxes.