Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, passed away after a long battle with health issues in the summer of 2018.

Since that time, there have been major questions raised about what will happen with her estate. Initially, it was reported that she died without a will — which raised serious questions about what will happen to her nearly $100 million estate. However, she may have had a valid will after all.

According to a recent court filing, her estate has become even more complicated. National Public Radio (NPR) reports that three handwritten wills were discovered in her Michigan home.

The Franklin Estate May Be Headed for a Protracted Legal Dispute

Reporters from NPR were able to review a recent legal filing made to a Michigan probate court. Within that filing, there is a claim that Aretha Franklin’s supposed last will and testament was found inside a spiral notebook that was located under some couch cushions. This handwritten will was allegedly drafted in 2014. Beyond that, two other wills, which supposedly date back to 2010, were found within a locked filing cabinet. A state probate court will now have to determine the legal validity of all three wills.

Of Course, Determining The Validity Of The New Wills Is Only One Issue That Needs To Be Resolved.

Even if one of the wills is found to be legally valid, other issues still must be resolved. A probate court has already been tasked with identifying assets, appraising assets, and addressing how exactly creditors will be handled. Notably, in December of 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filed a $6 million lien against the estate of Ms. Franklin. Other private creditors have also taken legal action in an attempt to recover funds from the estate.

Handwritten Wills Often Create Serious Conflict

Handwritten wills and other personally drafted estate planning documents are notorious for causing serious problems. In many cases, probate courts have a difficult time validating and verifying these documents.  As explained by Renton, WA estate planning lawyer Dan Kellogg, “The importance of careful estate planning cannot be overstated. It is never a good idea to have a handwritten will. Personally drafted documents are very difficult to verify. Further, if multiple copies are discovered, it could lead to a major dispute between the potential beneficiaries. With a professionally drafted will and a comprehensive estate plan, you can be sure that your true last wishes will be carried out.”