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James Brown's estate still under dispute

James Brown, the famous godfather of soul music, performed a number of times in New Jersey over the span of his lifetime. Since his death in 2006, his roughly $100 million estate has been under dispute by members of his family and other individuals with whom he worked very closely. One of the biggest frustrations with the estate administration has been the lack of clear estate planning that was completed before his death.

According to those who were close with the singer before his death, he wished for the entirety of his estate to be given to poor and needy children. His family claims that mental incompetency and undue influence are the only reasons why Brown did not leave them any money. The dispute has gone on for four and a half years now, and no one has been issued any money.

Brown's alleged widow and his nine children are among the people fighting for a piece of his estate. In 2009, an attorney general made a decision to grant half of his estate to his family, and to give the other half to the trust he set up for needy children. Unfortunately, the decision was appealed by not only two of Brown's former trustees, but also his former producer, who helped him set up the trust.

His former producer has shown evidence in many court trials, including video evidence, that Brown wanted his estate to go into the trust he set up with her. Unfortunately for her, most of the courts had ruled against her. The decision now lies within the Supreme Court.

Source: Forbes, "James Brown's Estate and Wishes Remain in Limbo," Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Aug. 8, 2011

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