James Brown estate drama continues

The former record producer of James Brown claims that his children have subverted his final wishes and hijacked his $100 million estate from charity. The New York Post reports that producer Jacque Hollander has started a court battle to see that The Godfather of Soul's estate goes to a trust for needy children.

The nasty battle over James Brown's estate erupted shortly after his death in 2006. James Brown's children are supported by the Reverend Al Sharpton, who Hollander claims is backing Brown's children for his own personal gain.

"He was left out of it. He always felt that he would walk away with a pretty sizeable chunk of James Brown and was left nothing," Hollander said.

The New York Post reports that Sharpton and Brown were longtime friends and that Brown referred to Sharpton as a surrogate father. Sharpton denies receiving any financial benefit from the Brown estate.

Brown's original will acknowledged six children but only left them personal and household items. The children contested the will and reached an agreement with the estate trustee in 2009. The agreement provided that the children would receive 25 percent of the estate and that half of the estate would go to charity.

The other 25 percent would go to Brown's partner, Tomi Rae Hynie, who claimed to be Brown's wife. Hynie drew national attention shortly after Brown's death in a tearful scene in which she said that she was locked out of the singer's home, where she had lived with Brown and his son, James Brown II.

In our next post we will look at the different characters involved in this ongoing estate battle, and how such situations can be prevented through the use of an experienced estate planning attorney.

Source: The New York Post, "James Brown's ex-producer fighting family over his estate," Isabel Vincent, Melissa Klein, 4/3/11

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