James Brown’s family has been battling over his estate for 15 years, but now a settlement has finally been reached that will end the issues they were fighting over. The agreement was reached in July 2021, and officially ends the legal battle that has been taking place since Brown passed away on Christmas Day in 2006, at the age of 73. Unique headlines and strange claims started almost right away, but getting to the truth of the actual matter would take somewhat longer.
More than a dozen lawsuits were filed, and the real value of Brown’s estate was in question, as well. Estimates ranged anywhere from $5 million to $100 at the time of his death. His estate had dwindled as he aged, due to financial mismanagement and drug problems, but Brown was far from destitute when he passed away. The fight went beyond the assets, though. There were even arguments about what should be done with his body. That fight lasted two months, while Brown’s body remained at the funeral home.
Last year, a court ruled that Tomi Rae Hynie, who had claimed to be Brown’s wife, hadn’t been legally married to him, and wasn’t entitled to anything from his estate. The court also ordered that Brown’s estate should be probated in accordance with the estate plan he had at the time of his death. That plan called for a Trust to be created, which would use most of his money to fund educational expenses for children located in Georgia and South Carolina.
It was thought that the battle over his estate was settled back in 2009, with half of the estate going to a Trust, one quarter to his children, and one quarter to Hynie. But that was overturned in 2013, due to the fact that the state’s Supreme Court felt it didn’t follow the estate plan that Brown had created, indicating that the majority of his money should go to charity.
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