Law Offices of Connie Yi, PC - estate planning
Tell Us About Your Case

For the safety of our community, clients and staff, we have suspended all in-person meeting effective March 17, 2020. All consultation meetings will be via Phone or Zoom Video Conferencing. Please contact us at 925-484-0888 or email us directly at [email protected] to schedule the consultation.

Bay Area Estate And Tax Planning Law Firm
Estate Planning
Trust Administration and probate

Godfather of Soul’s estate plan embroiled in decade-plus spat

| Feb 15, 2018 | Uncategorized |

“This stuff wouldn’t happen to Elvis Presley,” says a son of legendary musical artist and entertainer James Brown, who died in 2006.

The alluded-to “stuff” is collective, complex and enduringly knotty. A recent New York Times article refers to the protracted estate battle to which it pertains as “a petri dish for cultivating legal disputes.”

Seemingly, anything that might have even remotely gone wrong concerning Brown’s estate plan — which a justice from one state’s Supreme Court has called “carefully crafted” — has done so. Reportedly, an astonishing 12-plus estate-related lawsuits have been filed since the mega-entertainer’s death. The most recent filing was in a California federal court just last month.

The current mess exists despite what was apparently a good deal of reflective thought given by Brown to his estate prior to his passing. His will set aside money for his grandkids’ schooling, sought to transfer valuable possessions to his children and established a trust leaving millions in scholarship funds for underprivileged youth.

As the Times reports, though, “not a penny has gone to any of the beneficiaries of his will.” In fact, that document has been challenged more than once on grounds alleging Brown’s incapacity to act competently owing to drug problems. Moreover, the recent California litigation makes claims by many of Brown’s children that his widow unlawfully transferred valuable termination rights to the singer’s rich catalog of written and performed music.

It seems highly unlikely that things will sorted out anytime soon. One commentator says that, “You really need a map to go through this whole thing.”

Even the estate’s value is hotly disputed, with estimates ranging from about $5 million all the way up to $100 million.

Archives

FindLaw Network

Recent Blog Post

Is estate planning necessary for young people?

Misconceptions exist about the relationship between age and estate planning. Yes, older people may prioritize estate planning for reasons related to advancing age and health concerns. That does not mean only older California residents benefit from the process. Young...

What are the responsibilities of a fiduciary?

Residents of California may want to learn more about the role of the fiduciary and their responsibilities. Because fiduciary duty may be a requirement among certain professions, clients and professionals should know more about what this is. The meaning of fiduciary...

5 factors to consider when choosing a guardian

For parents, one of the biggest reasons they decide to create an estate plan is to ensure their child will be cared for no matter what. It isn’t easy to think about a tragedy where a child may lose both their parents before they turn 18, but parents have to plan for...

View More Blog Posts