New Setback in Settlement of James Brown Estate

Jennifer Sodini

by Jennifer Sodini

Published February 27, 2013

Notorious B.I.G. said it best, "Mo' money, mo' problems". Such is the case in regards to the settlement of the late James Brown's estate.

Brown passed away back in 2006 of heart failure, at 73 years-old. Since his passing there has been a long and arduous court fight over his estate, and there seems to be some discrepancy regarding the "Godfather of Soul"'s wishes.

This past Wednesday the South Carolina Supreme Court overturned a settlement dividing his fortune, claiming the former state attorney general involved, Henry McMaster, had failed to follow Brown's wishes when brokering the deal, according to The Associated Press.

McMaster originally negotiated a settlement in 2009 that split up the singer’s estate, giving about half to a charitable trust, a quarter to his widow, Tomi Rae Hynie, then distributing the rest among his adult children.

However, the court ruled that McMaster's deal ignored Brown’s last wish that all his money go to charity. Claiming, that Brown was of sound mind and body when he made his will. McMaster was chastised by the court for disregarding Brown's instructions.

"The compromise orchestrated by the A.G. in this case destroys the estate plan Brown had established in favor of an arrangement overseen virtually exclusively by the A.G.,” Associate Justice John W. Kittredge wrote. “The result is to take a large portion of Brown’s estate that Brown had designated for charity and to turn over these amounts to the family members and purported family members who were, under the plain terms of Brown’s will, given either limited devises or excluded.”

It's unfortunate that Brown's last wishes were not fulfilled, but hopefully the settlement will come to a close and all parties involved can be satisfied.

James Brown
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