The estate of James Brown is still facing battles.
No surprise there.
James Brown was without question very talented.
But his estate planning could have been much better.
According to a recent The New York Times article titled “Why Is James Brown’s Estate Still Unsettled? Ask the Lawyers,” his estate has not yet been settled.
He died on Christmas day in 2006.
It has been 11 years.
Why is his estate still not settled?
Dozens of lawsuits have been filed since his death.
Some were individuals claiming they should have been trustees.
Others are from family members who claim unethical actions by his widow Tommie Rae Hynie.
He even has a child suing to be a legal heir.
What did his estate plan stipulate?
Brown had set aside $2 million to scholarship his grandchildren.
He left household effects and costumes to his six children he specifically recognized as heirs in his will.
However, most of his estate was directed to fund the I Feel Good Trust.
The purpose of the trust was to provide scholarships for children in Georgia and South Carolina.
But none of this has happened.
The lawsuits have put a hold on Brown's desired benevolence.
The South Carolina attorney general proposed a settlement whereby a quarter of the estate would go to children and grandchildren and another quarter to the widow of James Brown.
The South Carolina Supreme Court said no.
Brown has set up an estate plan.
The Court did not want it to be disregarded.
The final fate of the Brown estate is as much as mystery as the value of it.
Some believe it to be as low as $5 million.
Others estimates it to be as high as $100 million because of song copyrights.
Although Brown created an estate plan, it is unfortunate that it has turned out be such a mess ... and a "full employment program" for attorneys.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: The New York Times (February 4, 2018) “Why Is James Brown’s Estate Still Unsettled? Ask the Lawyers”