Aretha Franklin's Niece Sabrina Owens Resigns as Executor of the Late Singer's Estate

Lois Oladejo
Feb 04, 2020
08:40 P.M.
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The niece of the late singer, Aretha Franklin, resigns her position as the executor and the representative of the late singer's estate amid family conflict.


Death can either unite a family or drive them apart based on the circumstances. Add money to the mix, and what happens is the conflict brewing in Aretha Franklin's family.

The deceased singer's family is at each other's throat regarding her inheritance, and it has created a tense environment. So much so that her niece, Sabrina Owens, is stepping down from her entrusted position.

Aretha Franklin at the 102nd White House Correspondents' Association Dinner on April 30, 2016 in Washington, DC. | Photo: Getty Images



The latter is the executor and personal representative of her late aunt's estate, but she is resigning from her position because of the "Bad blood" in the family. In court documents obtained by the Detroit Free Press, Owens stated,

"My primary goal was to honor my aunt by handling her business professionally, fairly, and within the law."

The singer's niece added that despite her best intentions, the heirs of her aunt's estate have become more contentious. She noted that her aunt loved family, and would not like what's happening now.


Aretha Franklin performs at The Fox Theatre on March 5, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia | Photo: Getty Images


Owens hinted that her decision to step down is based on her desire to uphold her aunt's values. She filed her petition to step down last Thursday but continues as the executor until the court appoints a replacement.


The conflict in the singer's family began after her sons discovered three handwritten Will with different wishes of their mother.

The petition is before Judge Jennifer Callaghan, and she has fixed March 3rd for hearing. Franklin's family had tried to oust her niece before the filing of this petition.

Aretha Franklin performs onstage during the "Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives" Premiere Concert during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at Radio City Music Hall on April 19, 2017 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images



The singer's son, Kecalf Franklin, had applied to the court to become his mother's executor, but his application got rejected. The latter was based on his siblings distrusting him to handle the role honorably.

Owens kept a detailed report of her dealings with her aunt's estate and listed it in her petition. She managed the deceased's affairs like music licensing and negotiations for movie projects based on Franklin's life.

Aretha Franklin & son Kecalf Cunningham at her 72nd Birthday Celebration in New York City on March 22, 2014 | Photo: Getty Images



The niece, who works as a human resource executive at the University of Michigan, became the executor of the deceased's estate in 2018. She took the role at the request of her cousins.

In the years leading up to Franklin's death, she was by her side as a trusted family member and confidant. Owens helped her aunt manage her life until she breathed her last.


The conflict in the singer's family began after her sons discovered three handwritten will with different wishes of their mother. It threw the family into the chaos they are currently in.

Owens holds no ill will towards her aunt's children and wants to return to her life. She hopes the conflict would get resolved soon and wishes her cousins nothing but love, peace, and light.