Jury Rules Handwritten Will In Aretha Franklin’s Couch Is Valid


A Michigan jury decided yesterday that a handwritten document found in Aretha Franklin’s couch following her 2018 death counts as a valid will. The ruling ends a years-long debate between her sons on the matter. The jury says the 2014 document — which features crossed out, nearly illegible passages — is legally valid, despite it not being notarized or signed in the presence of witnesses. While the 2014 document was found under couch cushions, another one from 2010 was found in a locked cabinet.

Two of Franklin’s sons, Kecalf and Edward Franklin, argued in favor of the 2014 paper, while brother Ted White II favored the earlier will. Both indicate that Franklin’s four sons would share income from music royalties and copyrights, but the latter — now official — document gives her Bloomfield Hills home to Kecalf and her grandchildren, and doesn't include a note that Kecalf and Edward must “take business classes and get a certificate or a degree” in order to inherit her assets.