James Brown’s Estate Undecided

Although James Brown passed away in 2006, his estate is not yet settled. The sticky issue in the case is whether or not Brown was married when he passed away and the answer to that question is not simple.

Kissing Newlyweds on the Beach

James Brown’s will left nothing to his longtime companion, Tomirae Hynie. After Brown passed away, Hynie contested the will claiming to be Brown’s wife. A recent article in Watchdog Wire reveals some unusual details about this unusual case.

The article is titled “SC: James Brown Companion Moves to Ban DNA-Proven Children From Estate Hearings.”

At one point, Brown and Hynie did, in fact, get married. However, that marriage was later voided by law because it was discovered that Hynie was married to another man at the time.

Hynie’s response?

Hynie claims the marriage to the other man was an immigration scam that was never consummated.

Brown later refused to remarry Hynie, but she believes that their original marriage should be upheld as valid. At one point, a settlement was reached in the case giving a portion of the estate to Hynie. However, the South Carolina Supreme Court recently voided that settlement.

The real issue here is whether Hynie was married to Brown when he passed away. If yes, then the fact she was not mentioned in the will is irrelevant. As the surviving spouse, Hynie would be entitled to a “spousal elective share” portion of the Brown estate.

Before she can get that spousal elective share portion of the estate, Hynie must convince the court to uphold a marriage that took place while she was already married to someone else.

That will not be an easy task.

Please contact our office today at 239-225-7911 to schedule an appointment with Barbara M. Pizzolato if you are interested in protecting your legacy and need to create or update your estate plan. You may also wish to attend one of our free seminars.

Reference: Watchdog Wire (November 14, 2014) “SC: James Brown Companion Moves to Ban DNA-Proven Children From Estate Hearings

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