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Aretha Franklin Left Behind $1 Million Worth in Uncashed Checks — Here’s What Happened to Them

Over the past few years, a number of legendary artists have left us. However, they live on in their music. One who shone on her way fairly recently was Aretha Franklin, known to most of us as The Queen of Soul.

Her death didn’t catch us by surprise though, as the singer had been gravely ill for a while. Naturally, tributes came streaming in, with Barack Obama going as far as saying that the singer defined the new world experience.

She didn’t leave a will, or did she?

At the time of her passing on, the 76-year-old didn’t have a will despite her enormous estate, or so we thought. To escalate matters, the IRS was hot in pursuit of defaulted payments between 2012 and 2018 to the tune of $7.8 million.

$80 Million Net Worth

Thankfully, Aretha Franklin’s posthumous wealth was enough to cover this amount and any other penalties that came the artiste’s way. $7.8 million is a drop in the ocean for someone with an $80 million net worth, don’t you think?

And guess what? It was soon discovered that she had a pile of checks left uncashed, worth almost $1 million. How wealthy do you have to be to leave such an amount uncashed? According to court documents, the checks were worth $988,656.17.

Of this amount, $702,711.90 was from two checks issued by Screen Writers Guild and Sound Exchange. The remaining amount was covered by checks from Carlin Music, BMI, EMI, Feel Good Films and Springtime Publishing.

Without a will, how was her estate going to be divided? To avoid any sibling rivalry, the singer’s legal team decided that it would be best to divide her wealth in a manner that each of her four children received an equal share.

They were all to receive an equal share

Handwritten Wills

Luckily, just before the estate had been partitioned, three wills were found at her house. It would seem that she personally handwrote them, and they are currently being authenticated. The first two bore the year 2010 as the only identifier of the year they were penned, and they had been safely tucked away in a cabinet. The other one was dated 2014 and was found hidden under The Queen of Soul’s favorite couch.

Were experts to validate said wills, the estate will definitely be divided as the dearly departed wished, with a portion of it going towards the payment of her eldest son’s accommodation and service at a group home. Aretha had Clarence when she was quite young (age 12), and mother and son shared quite the bond.

Aretha with one of her sons, Keclaf

She went on to bear three more sons, Keclaf, Teddy, and Edward, who according to these yet to be validated wills, get to inherit a residence each.

As it turns out, Aretha Franklin had this habit of piling up checks instead of cashing them. From 2012 to 2016, the singer didn’t cash most checks she received, necessitating a reissuance. For how long have you left a mature check uncashed? Talk of someone not being money-minded!

And though she left us, Franklin is still very much alive. You must have heard of the Nat Geo Series Genius, right? In February, they announced that the show’s third season would be centered around the life of The Queen of Soul, and is scheduled for a 2020 release.

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