Is a handwritten will good enough? That is the question that the family of the late singer Aretha Franklin has to answer. The family recently discovered not one but three handwritten wills believed to have been written by Franklin. While some people in Florida might think this could be helpful, it could end up complicating things even further.
One of the wills was reportedly found underneath some seat cushions, presumably in Franklin's home. It is not clear where the other two were discovered, but all three have been submitted to the process of probate. The process should determine whether any of the three handwritten documents has a legal standing. However, since three wills have already been discovered, it is also possible that other, more recent handwritten wills still exist.
While this might be a high-profile situation involving a celebrity, the estate planning lesson can be extrapolated to virtually anyone in Florida. Having a formalized will is much more effective than a handwritten will, and its validity will be harder to challenge. Additionally, the formalized will should be kept in a safe place where family members can easily access it.
Destroying old wills after creating new or updated versions is also a good idea to prevent confusion or any potential legal challenges. Not only do wills make sure that people's wishes are respected even after their deaths, but it also takes some of the strain off those who are left behind. By providing clear instructions through a will that is an easily accessible location, family members can better deal with their loved one's estate while also going through the grieving process.