After the death of music legend Aretha Franklin in 2018, many people in Texas and across the country were shocked to learn that she did not have a will in place to distribute her remaining assets. As a result, difficulties regarding the estate administration arose. However, recent developments may only have more issues regarding her estate coming to the forefront.

It was recently reported that three handwritten wills had been found in Franklin’s home. Two of the wills were found in a locked cabinet and were dated from 2010, and a third document was found under her couch cushions. The third will was dated in 2014. Though some may be relieved to know that these documents were created, they do not necessarily mean that the estate’s issues are solved. In fact, the handwritten documents may not be valid under state law.

The estate’s personal representative shared the documents with legal representation for the heirs, and there is disagreement as to whether they are valid. At least two of Franklin’s sons have already filed contests against the wills. It was noted that a hearing was set for June to determine the validity of the documents. 

While finding estate planning documents can often help with estate administration, those documents must have been created correctly. If they are handwritten, their validity may come into question, and they may also be difficult to read. Plus, handwritten documents may indicate that a person did not receive professional help creating the plans, which could mean they were not made in accordance with Texas state law. In a best-case scenario, individuals would create comprehensive estate plans ahead of time, but as this case and others show, surviving family may instead have a difficult time ahead of them.