James Brown Estate Settled

A South Carolina judge approved a settlement May 26 that will give nearly half of James Brown’s wealth to his charitable trust, about 25 percent to his wife and young son, and the rest to Brown’s adult children.

The settlement establishes that Tomi Rae Hynie Brown is the surviving spouse of Brown, and that her son, James Brown II, is the Godfather of Soul’s child. He will not be required to take a DNA test.

“I am so relieved and happy that the court has approved this settlement,” the widow said in a statement. “I want to be able to work with the trustees and other Brown family members to promote James Brown’s legacy.”

The settlement was in contrast to the instructions spelled out in Brown’s will and trust after his death on Christmas Day 2006. Some of his children contest it, claiming their father’s estate was mismanaged by trustees.

The value of Brown’s assets has not been made public, but during numerous court hearings since his death, claims have risen about unpaid debts, shoddy accounting and misappropriated money.

Attorneys have said not much remains in Brown’s accounts, but at stake is future income – from movies, royalties and the sale of Brown’s likeness.