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Aretha Franklin's Sons Appoint Niece To Execute Estate: Heirs To Split Fortune

Almost a week after Aretha Franklin’s death, her sons have agreed to appoint another family member to oversee any future dealings concerning the Queen of Soul’s estate, can exclusively report — and there's no fight over her reported $80 million fortune.

According to the affidavit obtained exclusively by, Franklin's four sons— Edward, Clarence, KeCalf and Theodore Richard White III — filed for an estate application on Aug. 21, 2018, just six days after the songstress passed away after battling pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer at 76.

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The court records also indicate that Franklin’s four sons have agreed to relinquish their right to be appointed as personal representatives to the estate and instead have appointed those duties to a niece, Sabrina Garrett Owens.

Thee family filed an informal application in Probate Court and is not asking a judge to intervene formally in any proceedings, said Arnold Reed, one of Franklin’s attorneys who has handled other legal matters for the singer.

“In this particular case, there is a presumption legally in the state of Michigan that all heirs take equally, unless there is a fight, in which case, the Probate Court would have to get involved,” Reed told in an exclusive interview. “Based on court documents, all evidence points to a road of congeniality and cordiality and the family getting along. … They are essentially saying, ‘We can work this out on our own.’ That indicates the family is taking care of business and there is absolutely no dispute."

Aretha Franklin
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The family has yet to file a Last Will & Testament, but that does not mean one does not exist, Reed insisted. According to the application filed by her sons, they wrote “N/A” as a response to all questions referring to a will.

“As I sit here, I don’t know if there is a will or not,” Reed said. “What I have evidence of is there has been a filing and there is a personal representative appointed. That does not mean there is no will … but all evidence point there is no fight within the family at this juncture."

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According to the appointment documents, which was signed by Owens, the estate may not be closed earlier than five months after the date of her appointment, except under a limited circumstance.

“If the estate is not settled within 1 year after my appointment, within 28 days after the anniversary of the appointment, I must file with the court and send to each interested person a notice that the estate remains under administration and the reason for the continuation of the estate,” according to the affidavit signed by Owens on Aug. 21, 2018. “If you do not receive such a notice, you may petition the court for a hearing on the necessity for continued administration or for closure of the estate."

A source previously told the sons were planning to fight over the estate with her longtime partner, Willie Wilkerson, 70, but it looks like the men have changed their tune.

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