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Aretha Franklin's Family Drags Clive Davis Into Estate Battle

By Ryan Naumann

Aretha Franklin’s family is battling in court for control of her estate and record exec Clive Davis is being dragged into it.

According to court documents obtained by The Blast, the personal representative of Aretha’s estate, Sabrina Owens, has filed a witness list. She is set to face off against the late singer’s sons, who are trying to remove her handing the estate.

Owens plans on calling several of Aretha’s representatives from her talent agencies. She lists the head of Swanson Funeral Home and several Chase bank employees. She wants to call multiple lawyers who worked for Aretha and she even lists record executive Clive Davis.

She believes Davis will be able to testify in court on Aretha’s business matters and music royalties.

Clive and Aretha had a decades long relationship and he executive produced several of her biggest records.


The battle is between Owens and Fraklin’s son, Kecalf Franklin. Earlier this year, Kecalf Franklin went to court to file docs seeking to take complete control of Aretha’s estate and sought for Owens to be 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.

Kecalf also has questions about uncashed personal checks from Sound Exchange (music royalties) and Screen Writers Guild in the amount of $702,711.90 and uncashed checks to from EMI and other music companies in the amount of $285,944.27. The total amount of uncashed checks comes to $988,656.17.

A judge has yet to make a decision.

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