Aretha Franklin’s Handwritten Will Found Under A Couch Cushion Nine Months After Her Death

The legendary Queen of Soul left behind three handwritten wills in her Detroit home.

Aretha Franklin performs at Radio City Music Hall on February 17, 2012 in New York City.
Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

The legendary Queen of Soul left behind three handwritten wills in her Detroit home.

Aretha Franklin’s final wishes have been uncovered. Nine months after the legendary Queen of Soul passed away, three handwritten wills have been found in her suburban Detroit home, The Associated Press reports.

Franklin’s estate attorney David Bennett revealed that two of the wills, dated 2010, were found in a locked cabinet in Franklin’s longtime home after a key to a dresser was discovered. But a more recent will from March 2014 was found inside a spiral notebook tucked under cushions in Franklin’s living room, the estate attorney said. The handwritten wills include scratched-out text and notes in the margins, but the hard-to-read documents appear to give Franklin’s assets to her four adult sons: Clarence, Edward, Teddy, and Kecalf.

When Aretha Franklin died last summer at age 76 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, her family said she left no documents instructing how her estimated $80 million estate should be divided up. Months later, the unearthed wills were a surprise to the music legend’s family members.

Bennett said the newly-found wills were shared with Franklin’s four sons and their lawyers, but it remains to be seen if the handwritten, hard-to-read documents will be considered valid under Michigan law. A statement from the estate said two of Franklin’s sons object to the wills. A June 12 hearing has been set.

According to a report by Detroit News, “two purported Holographic Wills” dated June 21, 2010, and October 20, 2010, were found in a locked cabinet inside Aretha Franklin’s home earlier this month. The third will, dated March 31, 2014, was found under the cushions of a living room couch. In each of the documents, Franklin began with a “being in sound mind and physical health” pronouncement and ultimately left her assets to her sons.

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Franklin reportedly requested that her cars and property be supervised by one son, and her artwork, copyrights, and future music royalties are to be shared equally by all four sons, two of whom followed in her footsteps with careers in the music industry. (Franklin’s son Teddy is a singer and guitarist who regularly toured with his mother, while youngest son Kecalf is a Christian rapper.)

Franklin also left her many awards and gold records to her children. The “Respect” singer listed a provision that two of her sons “must take business administration classes and get a certificate or degree.” The only dollar figure reportedly listed in the paperwork is a $1.6 million bank account.

Unlike traditional wills, the signing of holographic wills are not witnessed and are probated in the state of Michigan, providing they are authenticated.