Judge to allow use of handwriting expert for Franklin’s will

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Aretha Franklin

FILE – In this Tuesday, May 17, 2011 file photo, Aretha Franklin performs during a star-studded double-taping of “Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular,” in Chicago. A judge is expected to consider a request for a handwriting expert to examine wills discovered in couch cushions after Aretha Franklin’s death. A hearing is scheduled Tuesday in Oakland County Probate Court, north of Detroit. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan judge agreed to allow a handwriting expert to examine wills discovered in couch cushions after Aretha Franklin’s death.

During a hearing Tuesday, Oakland County Probate Judge Jennifer Callaghan also placed administration of Franklin’s estate under court supervision. That means the court will have a role in major decisions about her estate, including the sale of property.

A handwritten 2014 document shows Franklin apparently wanted her son, Kecalf Franklin, to serve as the representative of her estate, which might be worth millions.Erich Speckin was hired by the son to verify his mother’s handwriting. Specken told Callaghan it will take him about three hours to analyze the documents.

Lawyers for Franklin’s estate have said “there is no basis” to believe Kecalf Franklin has the skills to administer the estate.

After Franklin’s death last August her heirs agreed to put the estate in the hands of Franklin’s niece, Sabrina Owens, who is a university administrator. Attorneys for Theodore White II said in a court filing that White should be named co-executor, along with Owens.

White and Owens’ names appeared in a 2010 handwritten will, but were crossed out in the 2014 document.

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