Hearing today on Aretha Franklin's $80 million fortune

Will handwritten wills hold up in court?

Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin (Copyright (c) 2019 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

DETROIT – A hearing is set for today on the future of Aretha Franklin's estate.

Franklin died with an estimated $80 million fortune. It was initially thought the singer had no will until four pages of handwritten notes were found under the cushions of her living room couch.

The most recent will is dated March 2014. That one appears to give the singer's assets to family members. Some writing is very difficult to decipher and the four pages have words scratched out and phrases written in the margins.

Probate attorney Danielle Mayoras thinks the document could be used in court.

"The judge is going to have a hearing. In order for a holographic will to be binding, it needs to be dated, it needs to be signed and a substantial part of it needs to be in the testator's handwriting, which it appears that it is," she said.

Mayoras said the 2014 document might not stand in court, but she said she thinks one found in 2010 may be a "slam dunk."

About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.