Fate of Aretha Franklin's fortune remains uncertain, IRS debt looms

The fate of the Queen of Soul's fortune remains uncertain. 

A couple weeks ago multiple handwritten wills were discovered in Aretha Franklin's home. The wait whether they are valid is about to get longer. 

Several attorneys packed an Oakland County courtroom Monday afternoon -  but there is still no final decision on the wills.

"What happened today everybody got to have their say and everything got rolled down the road," said Craig Smith, Edward Franklin's attorney.

At issue is the late Aretha Franklin's assets and three handwritten wills discovered in her home in May. The Queen of Soul died last August from pancreatic cancer at the age of 76 - but there was no formal will at the time of her death.

A handwriting expert will determine the validity of the wills written in 2010 and 2014.

"As a general rule, the most recent will controls over earlier ones," said Smith. "So the 19, 2014 will, if it is valid, if it is her handwriting, that wipes out the 2010 will.

Lawyers for Aretha Franklin and for family members named in the wills, say it is still unclear how much the late Queen of Soul's estate is worth

"There was no inventory of all the assets that were owned by Ms. Franklin at the time of her death on Aug. 16, 2018," said Charlene Glover Hogan, Kel Franklin's attorney. "Nobody to this day knows exactly what was in her estate."

One of the issues up for debate is whether to sell off Franklin's assets to settle her debt. According to the IRS, she owes millions of dollars in back taxes.

"You have to look into a crystal ball, is there going to be enough cash coming in to satisfy the debts," said Smith. "If there is enough cash flow coming in to satisfy the debts, you wouldn't have to sell anything."

"There is sufficient money coming into the estate from numerous sources," said Hogan. "We just don't know all of them and that is what I have requested in my petition."

The next hearing is set for July 24.