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The family of artist James Brown has reached an agreement ending a 15-year battle over the late singer’s inheritance, a lawyer involved in the mediation said on Friday.
David Black, an attorney representing Brown’s estate, confirmed to The Associated Press that the deal was reached on July 9. Details of the deal were not disclosed.
The legal dispute over the inheritance of the Godfather of Soul has been ongoing since his death at the age of 73 on Christmas Day 2006.
The artist’s death sparked years of strange headlines, starting with Tomi Rae Hynie, a former couple who claimed to be Brown’s wife, who was barred from his 60-acre (24-hectare) property as photographers captured her sobbing and shaking its doors. of iron. , begging to be let in.
Brown was known for hundreds of iconic musical works, including hits like “I Feel Good” and “A Man’s World,” and was known around the world for his eye-catching performances and dynamic stage presence. But years of drug problems and financial mismanagement reduced his wealth.
More than a dozen lawsuits were filed over the years by people who tried to claim the singer’s assets, which the courts have estimated to be worth between $ 5 million and more than $ 100 million.
The fight over Brown’s property even extended to what to do with his body. Family members fought over the remains for more than two months, leaving Brown’s body, still in a gold casket, in a cold room at a funeral home.
Brown was eventually buried on Beech Island, South Carolina, in the home of one of his daughters. The family wanted to turn the house into a sanctuary for Brown similar to Elvis Presley’s Graceland, but that idea never took off.
Last year, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that Hynie had not legally married Brown and was therefore not entitled to his multi-million dollar estate.
The justices also ordered a circuit court to “proceed immediately with the succession of Brown’s estate in accordance with his succession plan,” which described the creation of a trust that would use his music royalties to fund the educational expenses of the students. children in South Carolina and Georgia.
A 2009 settlement plan would have given nearly half of Brown’s estate to a charitable trust, a quarter to Hynie and the remainder to be divided among his adult children. The state Supreme Court struck down that deal in 2013, writing that then-Attorney General Henry McMaster, now the state’s governor, had not followed Brown’s expressed wishes that most of his money go to charities, but instead that he had selected a professional manager who took over. of Brown’s assets from the estate trustees to settle debts.