As you might recall, it was said that Aretha left no will when she passed on last August, and now three handwritten wills have been found in her Detroit home.
Two of the new-found wills were locked up in a closet, the key for which took since last summer to find, and then they found another will hidden under the cushions of her sofa.
So now, of course, the whole matter of who inherits what from the music legend will be tied up for years and years in court proceedings. These documents are written on 16 scrawled pages. No one has even verified that the handwriting is that of Ms Franklin. And even if it can be proven that she wrote them, it will be up to judges who probably haven't been born yet to determine the validity of the wills.
|One of the pages of the purported wills.|
Assuming that the wills were written by Aretha, they do indicate her desire to make sure all four sons are to be treated fairly. They indicate that her assets are to be divided equally among her three younger sons, with detailed instructions for the care of her eldest son Clarence, who has unspecified special needs.
Clarence is 64 and was born when Aretha was only 12. These wills deny the long-held account that his father is one Donald Burk (or Burke), a classmate of Aretha, claiming that Clarence's father is really Edward Jordan, Sr, father of another of the singer's sons, Edward, who was born to Aretha at age 14.
That will also holds this declaration concerning Clarence's care: "His father, Edward Jordan Sr., should never receive or handle any money or property belonging to Clarence or that Clarence receives as he has never made any contribution to his welfare, future or past, monetarily, material, spiritual, etc."
There will be a hearing to start sorting all this out on June 12.
Your lawyer friends, and your friend Mark, will advise you strongly to get a will made up before you die.
After that, it will be just too late.