James Brown died on Christmas in 2006. Since then, his survivors have been fighting over his estate. There may finally be an agreement in place, even if it isn't what the Hardest Working Man in Show Business would have wanted.
According to the AP, an agreement has been reached between many of the parties who have been fighting over the late legend's estate. The agreement now awaits approval court approval.
As the AP notes, central in the dispute has been a charitable trust established by Soul Brother Number One to help educate poor children throughout Georgia and South Carolina. Reportedly, Brown's most valuable assets--rights to his music, his image and to his Beech Island South Carolina home--were put into his "I Feel Good" educational trust. The AP notes that some close to the Mr. Brown insist he would hate the fact that his children are getting a larger cut of what would otherwise go to the trust.
As noted in this blog last week, trusts can be one way of preventing certain assets from having to go through probate. This can allow those assets to get to the desired beneficiaries much more quickly.
In Mr. Dynamite's case, however, this couldn't happen because his heirs challenged the validity of his will, and also the validity of his charitable trust. Associated Content reported that that five of his children sued, alleging that the trust was merely set up enrich the advisors who helped Brown put the trust together.
Another way the end agreement doesn't resemble the will left by Mr. Brown is that it includes Tomi Rae Hynie (Brown's purported widow) and their son James Brown II. Even in his seventies, the Godfather of Soul illustrated the age old lesson of updating your will after the birth of another child. The contested will was reportedly signed by Brown ten months before the birth of his last child and twelve months before he allegedly married his final wife.