The Battle over Aretha Franklin's Estate Sounds a Bit Like the Plot of 'Succession' Season 4

Warning: 'Succession' spoilers ahead

BY Alex HudsonPublished Jul 12, 2023

Aretha Franklin died in 2018 at the age of 76, but the battle over her estate continues, as her sons are currently embroiled in a trial over who controls her assets — and this includes a detail that's awfully similar to a pivotal plot point from Succession's fourth season.

Franklin died without a formal will, so her four sons are arguing about which of her handwritten papers should be considered definitive, the Associated Press reports. The two papers in question: a 2014 notebook found under couch cushions, or a handwritten will from 2010 that was in a locked cabinet and had been signed by Franklin and notarized.

The snag with the 2014 document — and here's where Succession comes in — is that Franklin names her son Ted White II as the executor of her estate, but his name is crossed out, with Kecalf Franklin written in its place. This, of course, resembles the Season 4 plot point in which Logan Roy named his son Kendall as the new head of the family business, but then crossed it out — or did he underline it?

UPDATE (7/12, 9:05 a.m. ET): The 2014 document found under the couch cushions has been determined to be valid, making Kecalf Franklin the inheritor of Aretha's main home.

Closing arguments will take place today, and the jury will determine which, if any, of these documents should be considered her legitimate will. Fraklin's assets have been valued at $4.1 million USD, not including her creative works. All of Franklin's papers indicate that her four sons should split income from her music.

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