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Aretha Franklin’s hidden wills discovered

Aretha Franklin attends the premiere of “Selma” at the Ziegfeld Theatre on December 14, 2014, in New York City. (Photo credit: Shutterstock.com / J Stone)

It may have appeared initially that Aretha Franklin hadn’t left any documents declaring her last wishes and how she wanted her assets divided when she passed away in August 2018.

But the Queen of Soul’s family is now happy to discover that she left her will in a secret place.

Lawyers have now revealed they uncovered three handwritten notes in her Detroit home.

According to her estate’s attorney, David Bennett, two wills dated from 2010 were found in a locked cabinet after a key to the dresser was located, while the most recent one, which was written in 2014, was found underneath cushions in the “Natural Woman” hitmaker’s living room.

Some of the writing — which includes notes in the margins and scratched-out text — has proven to be hard to decipher but appears to give her assets to various members of her family.

The attorney filed the wills, which were discovered earlier this month, in court on Monday, May 20, 2019, but he is unsure whether they are legally binding under Michigan law.

A hearing is scheduled to take place on June 12 as two of Franklin’s four sons object to the wills, the family said in a statement.

In a separate court filing, the “Respect” singer’s son, Kecalf Franklin, claimed the 014 will stated his mother wanted him to serve as a representative of the estate, but the estate has confirmed that Sabrina Owens, an administrator at the University of Michigan, will continue to serve as their representative.

Don Wilson— a lawyer based in Los Angeles who worked for Franklin for 30 years — previously claimed he had spent a long time trying to persuade his client to get her affairs in order.

He said: “I tried to convince her that she should do not just a will but a trust while she was still alive.

“She never told me, ‘No, I don’t want to do one.’ She understood the need. It just didn’t seem to be something she got around to.”

Mr. Wilson added: “She was a private person.”