When Aretha Franklin lost her battle to pancreatic cancer in August 2018, lawyers originally declared that she died without a Will. Now, three handwritten Wills have been found at her property – causing much confusion for her family.

It is reported that one Will was hidden under living room cushions. The other two were locked in a cabinet. The latest Will, written in March 2014, is a 16-page document full of barely legible handwriting, notes in the margins and scratched out words.

Franklin’s long-serving lawyer, David Bennett, recently filed the Wills at a probate court. However, it is uncertain whether the Wills are real. If they are, questions remain over whether they are valid, and whether they are legal in her home state of Michigan.

The Franklin estate has confirmed that two of her four sons object to the Wills. There is also a dispute as to who should act as representative of the estate. A judge must now go through the documents and decide what to do next. A court hearing is scheduled for 12 June.

Avoid the same mistakes

The case highlights how important it is to write a Will – and to set out your wishes clearly. As with Aretha Franklin, if you write your own Will, it could be subject to scrutiny. Things become increasingly difficult if you write more than one Will, without revoking the others.

That is why it is safer to get a professionally drafted Will. Then your wishes are stated in no uncertain terms, leaving little room for objection. This makes things so much easier for your loved ones.

Without this clarity, your beneficiaries could face delays and expensive court battles after your death. Alternatively, the Will may be deemed invalid. If so, the law decides who gets what. It does not matter what views you have expressed – they do not count for anything.

If you would like to make a Will, or you want to amend your current Will, please contact us at Harrisons Solicitors. Call us on either 01938 552545 or 01686625134, email us at enquiries@harrisonsllp.com or complete a Free Online Enquiry.