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Will Found Under Aretha Franklin's Couch Cushions

2 others were found as well, but it's not clear if any are legal
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 21, 2019 9:20 AM CDT
This Monday, May 20, 2019, photo shows one of three handwritten wills that a lawyer said were found in the home of Aretha Franklin in Pontiac, Mich., months after her death.   (AP Photo/Ed White)
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(Newser) – Three wills have been found in the suburban Detroit home of Aretha Franklin nearly a year after her death, including one that was discovered under cushions in the living room, a lawyer said Monday. Franklin was 76 when she died last August of pancreatic cancer. Lawyers and family members said at the time that she had no will, but three handwritten versions were discovered earlier this month. Two from 2010 were found in a locked cabinet after a key was located. The 2014 version was inside a spiral notebook under cushions, said David Bennett, an attorney for Franklin's estate. 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, reports the AP. A hearing is scheduled for June 12.

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. 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. 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 IRS is 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.

(Read more Aretha Franklin stories.)

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