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Probate: Wills attributed to Aretha Franklin in question

When a person passes away here in Texas, the process of validating his or her will is an important one. If potential heirs disagree about any of the provisions of an existing estate plan, it can take a great deal of time to untangle. This is especially true if a will attributed to the deceased person is called into question by anyone who is part of the probate process. The estate of the late singer Aretha Franklin is dealing with that very issue right now, as courts work to determine the validity of handwritten wills that she may have written.

Officials say that a handwritten will was found in Franklin's couch after she died. Originally, her heirs agreed to appoint Franklin's niece as the representative for her estate. A handwritten will dating from 2010 named the niece and another individual that the court decided to appoint as co-executor.

The handwritten will found in the couch is apparently dated for 2014. It names Franklin's son as the representative for her estate. Since authorities aren't certain whether Franklin genuinely authored either document, a judge agreed to have a handwriting expert analyze both of them. The son hired an expert who stated that analysis will not take very long. For now, the court says the administration of Franklin's estate will be conducted under its direct supervision.

This case shows exactly how important it is to ensure that a person has a solid estate plan, including a legally-verified will. Doing so can streamline the probate process and ensure that family members understand the wishes of their loved one. Here in Texas, it may be a wise decision to involve an attorney with significant experience in probate and the entire estate planning process.

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