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Aretha Franklin's children take legal action

Many music fans in California have continued to appreciate the work of Aretha Franklin since her death in 2018. However, some have expressed reservations about her estate planning skills. There is still an ongoing legal dispute over who should have control of her estate. One of the singer's sons filed a restraining order against Franklin's niece to stop her from taking any further action on behalf of the estate. Her other son has asked to be named a co-executor of the estate.

Franklin's niece claimed that she found three handwritten wills in May 2019 at the singer's home. The son who filed the restraining order says that the will written in 2014 named him the executor of the estate. Another of Aretha Franklin's sons reportedly agrees with that assessment. It is also alleged that the names of the current executor and the son who asked to be named a second executor to the estate were crossed off of the 2014 will.

The other two wills were written in 2010, and all three documents have been submitted to a probate judge by the deceased artist's legal representative. The judge in that matter is expected to rule in August 2019 as to whether the documents should be further analyzed by a handwriting expert. In a statement, the current executor said that she wants to be a neutral party in the ongoing dispute.

Creating a thorough will and/or trusts can help prevent the disputes that may otherwise arise during the probate process. However, an attorney may represent heirs, creditors or other parties interested in contesting a written will or other estate plan documents. In some cases, a judge could rule that a will or trust is invalid, remove an executor or take other actions in accordance with state law.

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