Aretha Franklin

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Tension Developing In Aretha Franklin Will Dispute

June 18, 2019 - 7:33 am

PONTIAC (WWJ/AP) - A fight is emerging over whether a son of Aretha Franklin could be put in charge of the late singer's estate, which might be worth millions.

In a court filing Monday, lawyers for the estate say "there is no basis" to believe that Kecalf Franklin has the skills to serve as personal representative, even if a handwritten will found in couch cushions turns out to be valid.

Franklin died last August without a formal document to guide her sons about her music, property and other assets. Her heirs agreed to put the estate in the hands of a relative who is a university administrator. But the recent discovery of the 2014 will could change everything. The document shows Franklin apparently wanted Kecalf Franklin to serve as the representative or executor.

He wants the job, although a judge hasn't yet determined if the will is valid. It could take weeks or months to resolve the issue.

The 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.