Last year the music world mourned its loss after the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin, was laid to rest at the age of 76 after an immensely successful music career. Although it was thought that the singer’s will was lost, it has recently been discovered, underneath some couch cushions and inside a locked cabinet., according to Consequence of Sound.
The three recently found documents appear to be signed by Franklin, who left the notes in messy, and at time illegible handwriting, that also included “salty tangents” in which she “zings various people she feels served her poorly.” Despite the illegible handwriting the documents clearly state how her assets, including her music royalties, jewelry, music instruments, and property should be allocated.
Although the documents have been uncovered it is unknown whether they will be executed, or if they’re even authentic as of press time. A judge will test the veracity of the documents before executing any of the portions of the wills.
In addition, the wills all vary wildly in length. The first will found contains about 11 pages worth of written material, while the most recent one found only contains four pages. If a Michigan judge is to rule these provisions invalid Franklin’s four sons are entitled to receive equal shares of her assets.
This is problematic however as much of the assets are also likely to be taken by inheritance taxes, which was explained by Art Steele in an interview with Rolling Stone last year. These taxes may take funds away from causes that Franklin, who served as a life long philanthropist, supported, which includes causes such as The Rainforest Foundation, MusiCares, and the Special Olympics.
“I’m sad – not only because she died but because a lot her money is going to go to the IRS,” Art Steele explained in the interview. “It’s sad because a lot of that money is going to the government. She might have wanted to use that money to help black people, and that’s the biggest tragedy besides losing her.”
In addition to 18 Grammy’s and her role as the first female inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Franklin remains the best selling female artist with over 100 of her hits landing on the charts.