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Aretha Franklin's Sons Turn on Each Other in Battle Over Singer's Estate

By Ryan Naumann

Aretha Franklin’s oldest son wants his brother to not have control of the singer’s estate, saying his sibling can’t even support himself.

According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Aretha’s son, Clarence Franklin, is responding to his brother Kecalf Franklin’s recent moves to gain power over the estate. A guardian and trustee in charge of Clarence filed the documents on his behalf. Clarence has unspecified special needs which require a guardian.

In the docs, Clarence says the current head of estate, Sabrina Owens, has done great work. He says she “is a suitable person to continue to act as Personal Representative and has done an excellent job as Personal Representative.”

Clarence says she should NOT be removed nor should Kecalf be added as co-representative. He says his brother has “neither the education nor experience to act appropriately and properly and in the best interests of all the interested parties to administer this complex estate.”

He continues, “Kecalf Franklin, throughout his life, has not exhibited or displayed any ability or inclination to support himself and lacks the financial knowledge or ability to act as a fiduciary. Kecalf Franklin is generally unsuitable to act as fiduciary.”

Earlier this year, Kecalf went to court to file docs seeking to take complete control of Aretha’s estate and wants Owens removed ASAP.

He accused her of mismanaging the estate and failing to perform her duties. Kecalf requested the judge appoint him as the successor and allow him to completely manage all aspects of Franklin’s business.

Kecalf claimed Owens has failed to provide the heirs any accounting or inventory of his mother’s property and assets. He wants to a full list of her jewelry, masters, Grammys, gold records and other awards.

He called Owens out for not communicating about the new business deals being negotiated. Kecalf claimed to know nothing about the announced television show Genius and the scheduled MGM biopic about Aretha’s life.

The heir even claimed they have been given no information about the investigation of her music catalog worth or the investigation of forgery of her checks. He also wants information about the audits being done on her IRS tax returns from 2012 – 2018.


Owens fired back denying Kecalf’s allegations she has left the heirs in the dark. She claims to be handling all responsibilities of the estate on time and properly.

She said inventory hasn’t been done yet but blamed the heirs for delays. Owens was adamant Kecalf and the other siblings have been updated constantly about the business affairs.

Owens also revealed since police did not press charges over alleged stolen property of Franklins, the estate is preparing a civil lawsuit. She asked the court to deny all requests by Kecalf and keep her on.

Recently, Kecalf went to court accusing the personal representative of the estate of failing to tell him or his siblings about a variety of issues.

As The Blast previously reported, the estate rep recently claimed to have found three handwritten wills that Franklin left in secret spots around her home.

Aretha’s son Edward Franklin also filed docs backing his brother Kecalf in the move to remove the current personal representative of the estate and put himself in charge.

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