When Aretha Franklin left this ridiculous planet last August, it was believed that she had left no will, and that her estate would be divided evenly between her 4 sons per Michigan law. It wasn’t a huge surprise because, as we know, Aretha didn’t really trust The Man, and she was reportedly averse to facing her mortality head on. Well, leave it to America’s greatest Diva to depart this earthy place having secretly left behind not one, not two, but THREE handwritten wills hidden around her house. One of them was tucked under a couch cushion, and the other two were found in a locked cabinet. According to the AP, a lawyer for Aretha’s estate filed the three surprise wills on Monday, and at least 2 of her sons aren’t happy about it.
The two that were found “in a locked cabinet after a key was located” are dated 2010, and the couch will (I’m adding “couch will” to “beautiful gowns” as another timeless Aretha-ism) is dated 2014. The couch will was found “inside a spiral notebook under cushions”, probably alongside a giant 1980s remote control and $2.36 in change.
The latest one is dated March 2014 and appears to give the famous singer’s assets to family members. Some writing is extremely hard to decipher, however, and the four pages have words scratched out and phrases in the margins.
Though all three have been filed, it’s unclear if any of the newfound wills are legally binding.
Bennett, who was Franklin’s lawyer for more than 40 years, filed the wills on Monday. He told a judge that he’s not sure if they’re legal under Michigan law. A hearing is scheduled for June 12.
Bennett said the wills were shared with Franklin’s four sons or their lawyers, but that a deal wasn’t reached on whether any should be considered valid. A statement from the estate said two sons object to the wills.
Sadly, it seems like Aretha’s finances were about as messy and all over the place as her homegoing concert was. The IRS is still claiming her estate owes $6 million in taxes. One of her sons claims that in the couch will, Aretha wanted him to serve as representative for her estate. He is objecting to the planned $325,000 sale of a piece of land next to her home in Detroit. I pray things don’t get so messy that her kids start shopping hologram concerts and action figures (not gonna lie, don’t approve but would buy) like some other families I don’t care to name.
What I really want is for Aretha’s family to keep digging. Who knows what other gifts she may have left behind. What if Aretha has a burn book hiding in the back of some kitchen drawer? The Smithsonian would have to build out an entire flame proof wing to give that kind of heat the reverence it deserves.