I'm a little hesitant, but only because I have never seen a national or regional franchise actually owned by an individual rather than an LLC, corporation, etc.
However, if that is what you had, there is no question that when the individual died you got a new customer, even if it was temporarily the individual's estate. The current owner, whether individual or entity, is a new customer and it would be necessary for you to wait for a year, file CTRs, etc. before testing for eligibility for exemption.
In this world you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.