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“Super Bad” Battle Still Raging over James Brown’s Estate

A judge is expected to sign an order to uphold the settlement in the James Brown Estate, which will resolve five of the six lawsuits contesting the Godfather of Soul’s will. Only Tomi Rae Hynie’s suit contesting the Will remains, according to a story, “James Brown Estate: What a settlement means for other pending lawsuits.”

While the settlement fully resolves the Will contest claims of James’ children, the fight is far from over. Brown’s wife, Tomi Rae Hynie, is still contesting the Will, making the status of the Will’s validity still unresolved.

About a year ago, the South Carolina Supreme Court put everything on hold. Now the only thing still in progress is the question of whether or not Tomi Rae Hynie is the legal spouse of James Brown. That issue is being heard by the Court of Appeals. It is the one issue where all the Brown children are united: they want the judge’s ruling that Tomi was Brown’s spouse overturned.

If she’s his wife, she controls the money flow from Brown’s copyrights. That’s money that should go into a trust, according to the Will. If Tomi Rae isn’t Brown’s wife, the kids control that money.

If the appellate court rules that Tomi Rae is indeed the legal wife of James Brown, then they’d have to next determine if the prenuptial agreement is valid. The court could hold that she’s not the wife, or they could decide it’s a jury issue. If so, this could go on for years.

As it stands now, the four adult children named in the settlement would keep the property Brown wanted them to have, remove the Will contest clause, and give them $147,000 collectively. As a part of the deal, they’ll cooperate with the estate and end their legal fight.

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