Aretha Franklin Had Close to $1M in Uncashed Checks When She Died 1 Year Ago

At the time of her death last year, Aretha Franklin had almost $1 million in uncashed checks in her possession, Billboard reports. Newly-filed court papers detail that the checks were discovered during an inventory of Franklin's possessions.

The inventory found that Franklin had a check for $702,711.90 from Sound Exchange and Screen Writers Guild as well as uncashed checks to her publishing company, Springtime Publishing, from EMI, BMI, Carlin Music and Feel Good Films in the amount of $285,944.27 — in total, $988,656.17 in uncashed checks.

The findings are just the latest development in the battle over the Queen of Soul's estate. When Franklin died on Aug. 16, 2018, at the age of 76, she left behind four sons: Clarence, Edward, Teddy and Kecalf. Originally, no will was found and under Michigan law, her estate was set to be divided equally between her children. However, nine months after her death, three handwritten wills — two from 2010 and one from 2014 — were found in her home.

The discovery of the wills, if they were found valid, would change the distribution of her assets. Each of the brothers have retained their own legal teams, and the authenticity of the documents is under review by a handwriting expert.

Attorneys for Kecalf tracked down one of the banks that issued checks to Franklin, and the bank reportedly confirmed there were instances of uncashed checks since 2012, causing them to be reissued in 2016.

Kecalf's attorneys, Charlene Glover-Hogan and Juanita Gavin Hughes wrote in a recent court motion of their disappointment with the proceedings. "It is totally unacceptable that it has taken a year for the heirs to begin find out what their mother owned on the date of her death," they said. "To date, the heirs still do not know what was owned on Aretha Franklin's date of death."

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They also claimed that Kecalf's cousin, Sabrina Owens, who was appointed as the personal representative of the estate, did not distribute an inventory of the estate to the four heirs until six months after it was due by law. According to court papers, the inventory she eventually complied was missing large components, including bank statements, tax bills, appraisals for the value of her homes and blue book values of her cars.

Franklin died of pancreatic cancer in August 2018 in her Detroit apartment at the age of 76. In January, TMZ reported that the IRS claimed Franklin owed more than $6.3 million in back taxes from 2012 to 2018 as well as an additional $1.5 milling in penalties, although Franklin's estate disputed the claim.