Forbes: The Godfather of Soul passed away on Christmas Day, 2006, and generously left his $100 million fortune to a special trust set up to help poor and needy children. Yet, four-and-a-half years later, not one child has seen a cent. Why?
The court battle over his final wishes has dragged on … and on … and on, as court fights often do. While most estate fights are devastating for family members, both emotionally and financially, this one has affected many more — those that needed help the most. How did this happen?
James Brown passed away with at least nine children, three ex-wives, and a woman who may or may not have been his widow. This woman, Tomi Rae Hynie, was technically still married to another man when she tied the knot with James Brown (although that marriage was later annulled, reportedly). Hynie also had a child named James Brown, II, which may or may not have been fathered by Brown. To complicate the estate, Brown never updated his will or trust during his five-year marriage to Hynie, so it was unclear if he did or did not want to include Hynie or his new son.