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Aretha Franklin performs live

The Real Reason Why Aretha Franklin's Niece Stepped Down From Her Estate

Gettyimages | Dimitrios Kambouris
By Chris Barilla

Nearly two years since the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin, passed away, and it seems that those managing her estate just can't seem to come to a singular agreement on anything. Whether it be the allocation of her assets, or how better to promote her name post-mortum, those involved reportedly can't get it together. The most major recent news involving her estate was them vehemently speaking out against the idea of a biopic starring Jennifer Hudson about the late soul singer. Now, it appears the late performer's niece has had enough and will be stepping down.

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According to Cheat Sheet, the reason for the familial strife is that Franklin did not pen a set will prior to her passing, so a war over her estate by all concerned parties has been culminating ever since.

After Franklin passed, her niece Sabrina Owens was appointed to be the executor of the estate. A university administrator, she took the position as family would, but has been dealing with the legal fallout of Franklin's passing ever since.

A publicity photo of a young Aretha Franklin
Gettyimages | Express Newspapers

Once appointed executor, Owens took to rectifying whatever financial mess had been left in the wake of Franklin's death. This included but wasn't limited to $6.3 million owed to the IRS, as well as properly allocating the $1.1 million the estate earned from the release of the biographical documentary on the "Respect" singer.

In her life, Franklin was notoriously not good with managing money, leaving lump sums of uncashed checks in various places and seemingly forgetting about them at the time.

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Given the legal strife and familial straining that has occurred due to Franklin's death, Owens has reportedly decided to step down from her position as executor of Franklin's estate.

After the discovery of three different handwritten wills following the singer's death is, "when relationships began to deteriorate with the heirs,” Owens wrote. “My primary goal was to honor my aunt by handling her business professionally, fairly and within the law. In spite of my best efforts, my role with the estate has become more contentious with the heirs.”

Aretha Franklin performing on television
Gettyimages | NBC

Even though litigations have reportedly caused tensions with Franklin's living relatives, Owens says there is absolutely zero misdirected anger towards her family, saying, “I hope that my departure will allow the business of the estate to continue, calm the rift in my family and allow me to return to my personal life. I love my cousins, hold no animosity towards them, and wish them the best.”

Despite Owen's resignation, the first legal proceedings regarding Franklin's estate will be held on March 3rd.

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