PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A niece of Aretha Franklin said she’s quitting as representative of the late singer’s estate, citing a rift in the family since handwritten wills were discovered last year.
“Given my aunt’s love of family and desire for privacy, this is not what she would have wanted for us, nor is it what I want,” Sabrina Owens said in a letter filed Thursday in a suburban Detroit court.
The “Queen of Soul” died without a known will in August 2018. Owens, an administrator at the University of Michigan, said she became manager of the estate at the request of Franklin’s four sons.
Nine months later, Owens reported that three handwritten wills had been discovered in Franklin’s home, including one under cushions in the living room. One document seems to indicate that Franklin wanted a son, Kecalf Franklin, to serve as executor or representative.
A judge last August said a handwriting expert could examine the documents. Another son, Theodore White II, asked the judge to make him co-representative of the estate with Owens. Meanwhile, court filings show a mediator has been privately working with the parties.
“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,” Owens said. “I love my cousins, hold no animosity towards them, and wish them the best.”
Owens’ 14-day resignation notice was reported by the Detroit Free Press. A court hearing that was scheduled before her decision is set for Tuesday.
The estate reported assets of $17 million at the end of August, including master recordings and publishing rights worth an estimated $10.5 million. The Internal Revenue Service in October filed tax claims of more than $6 million.
Netflix hit series ‘The Crown’ taps its new and last queen
NEW YORK (AP) — “The Crown,” Netflix’s hit drama series about the British royal family, will end earlier than expected and has revealed its next and last queen.
Show creator and showrunner Peter Morgan had said he expected to create six seasons, but now thinks five is the “perfect time and place to stop.”
Imelda Staunton has been tapped to be the last actress to play Queen Elizabeth II. She will take the crown in the fifth season from Olivia Colman, who, in turn, succeeded Claire Foy. “Imelda is an astonishing talent and will be a fantastic successor,” Morgan said in a statement Friday.
Staunton is an Olivier Award-winner whose films include “Vera Drake,” “Nanny McPhee” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” She played Lady Maud Bagshaw in the “Downton Abbey” movie.
“The Crown” has won a Golden Globe for best TV drama and both Foy and Colman have won best actress Globes in the royal role. Season three arrived on Netflix in December.