Formerly reported to have left no will for her $80 million estate, upon cleaning out the Queen of Soul's house, not one but three wills were found, and all were almost undeciferably handwritten. One will dated June 21, 2010 and another dated October 20, 2010 were found in a locked cabinet, while another one dated 2014 was stuffed in a notebook under her couch cushions.
While Franklin's niece and the current personal representative of her estate, Sabrina Owens, filed all of the documents in court, the October 20 document states it is a will, but essentially states that a previous will she wrote in the '70s was stolen and does not provide any indication of her wishes as to who should administer or inherit her estate. The most recent will, if accepted by Michigan courts as valid, would remove Sabrina Owens as the estate representative and appoint Franklin's son Kecalf.
In Michigan, in order for a holographic, or handwritten, will to be valid it must be in the person's own handwriting, signed by the person who created it or at her direction, and dated. However, if there is clear convincing evidence that the document was intended to be a will, even if it doesn't have the above formalities--a law that many states do not follow.
The court must first decide whether any of these wills are valid, and then the real fun begins. The wills are largely illegible, parts have been crossed out, there are question marks and fill-in-the blanks. Trials and testimonies regarding Franklin's wishes will likely ensue. Each of Franklin's sons has his own attorney and all are expected to object to the validity of the documents. The judge was expected to decide yesterday, June 17, 2019, whether the wills were admissible, however announced that she would not yet be making a decision.
Sadly, the discovery of these homemade wills has caused more trouble than not having a will at all. Take a minute to view my video, Can I Write My Own Will. You may think you are saving money by DIY, but should your will be contested, the attorney and court fees will put a far larger dent in your estate--not to mention family relationships.