A 2014 handwritten note by Aretha Franklin that was found under a sofa cushion has been ruled to be her valid final will.
A handwritten document that was found under a sofa cushion has been ruled to be Aretha Franklin's valid will.
The legendary singer died of cancer in August 2018 without leaving a formalised plan for her estate, but her niece Sabrina Owens later discovered two handwritten documents, one dated 31 March, 2014, and a second from 2010 which was discovered in a locked cabinet in the 'Respect' hitmaker's Detroit home, prompting a dispute between her sons.
While Kecalf and Edward Franklin wanted the later document to be determined as her legal will, their brother Ted White II advocated for the 2010 will, and now a jury has favoured the 2014 paperwork will stand.
Ted was named executor in the earlier document, but his name was crossed out and replaced by Kecalf in the 2014 will though all four documents said Aretha's four sons - including Clarence, who has special needs, lives under a guardianship and wasn't involved in the case - would share money made from royalties and copyright.
According to the will that will now be adhered to, Kecalf and grandchildren will inherit Aretha's main home, which was valued at $1.1 million when she died but is worth considerably more today.
After the jury took less than an hour to rule on the matter, Kecalf is quoted by Sky News as saying: "I'm very, very happy. I just wanted my mother's wishes to be adhered to."
He insisted there is not rift with his brother over the legal row.
He added: "I love my brother with all my heart."
Kecalf previously claimed it was not out of the ordinary for his mother to carry out important tasks and even sleep “on the couch”.
Her niece Sabrina added: "She would use the kitchen and living room - that was about it.
"So when I got to the sofa, I lifted up that far right cushion and there was three notebooks there.”
A Detroit court must now determine which of the two notes is Franklin's final will.
Franklin's accounts filed in March showed the estate had an income of $3.9million over the past 12 months and spending including more than $900,000 in legal fees.
The 'A Natural Woman' singer's entire assets - most of which is property and cash - are valued at $4.1million.
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