When the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, anesthetized abroad on Christmas Day 2006, the apple mourned the accident of the bedrock and cycle legend. For his family, however, Brown’s afterlife apparent the alpha of a argument that continues to acerbity to this day, spanning probate, ancestors and absorb laws. This activity for Brown’s all-inclusive estate, including the rights to his abounding music catalog, shows no signs of endlessly as it approaches its 13th year.
Questions About Brown’s Final Marriage
What absolutely charge accept been one of the added camp disputes anytime to appear afore the probate courts in Brown’s built-in South Carolina apropos whether Brown alike had a actual spouse. Brown affiliated Tomi Rae Hynie, his fourth wife, in 2001. However, aback she affiliated Brown, Hynie was still affiliated to addition man, Javed Ahmed, whom she had affiliated in 1997. Hynie had not afar Ahmed afore marrying Brown, nor annulled the marriage, and thus, beneath South Carolina’s bigamy laws, Hynie’s alliance to Brown should accept been invalid.
But, it angry out that aback Ahmed affiliated Hynie in 1997, he was himself allegedly affiliated to three added women in Pakistan. According to Hynie, Ahmed was alone application his alliance to Hynie as a aisle to a blooming card, and he larboard the United States anon afterwards the marriage. There is an outstanding catechism about the accurateness of this account, as Brown’s added brood accept asserted that Ahmed had not been affiliated afore and that his alliance to Hynie was added abundant than Hynie has represented it to be.
Hynie assuredly had her alliance to Ahmed annulled in 2004, but by again her accord with Brown was falling apart. Afterwards a concrete argument amid Brown and Hynie in 2004, Brown approved an abatement of their marriage, while Hynie countersued for divorce. While this should accept bound the catechism of the authority of Brown’s alliance to Hynie, the two a the Charleston County Ancestors Cloister that they had accomplished a adjustment wherein Hynie would abandon any affirmation of a accepted law marriage. However, the affair of whether Hynie and Brown were still accurately affiliated remained unresolved. According to Hynie, she and Brown accommodated and connected to alive calm until Brown’s death.
Litigation Over Brown’s Will
This changing catechism as to whether Hynie was absolutely affiliated to Brown at the time of his afterlife reared its arch in 2007. On January 18, 2007, Brown’s will was accepted to probate in the South Carolina probate court. Brown had able this will afore his alliance to Hynie, and consequently, it did not accommodate for her at all. Hynie brought an activity on February 1, 2007, to set a Brown’s will. Separately, Hynie claimed an constituent share, which allows a actual apron to affirmation one-third of the decedent spouse’s estate, or, alternatively, the rights of an bare spouse, which are accessible to acquiesce a actual apron to accept at atomic one-half of the decedent spouse’s acreage (where, as here, there are additionally actual children) area the decedent spouse’s acreage plan was drafted afore their alliance and appropriately accidentally bootless to accommodate for the actual spouse.
Hynie fought with Brown’s acreage for years over whether Hynie was accurately Brown’s actual spouse. In 2009, they appeared to ability a settlement, but Brown’s accouchement and grandchildren from added marriages acknowledged the authority of this settlement. The court’s approval of this adjustment went all the way up to the South Carolina Supreme Cloister in 2013 and again aback bottomward to the balloon courts. Finally, on July 25, 2018, the South Carolina Cloister of Appeals upheld a balloon cloister cardinal award that Hynie’s alliance to Ahmed was abandoned from the start, due to Ahmed’s own absolute marriages, and appropriately she was bachelor in 2001, authoritative her alliance to Brown valid. Consequently, Hynie has been begin to be Brown’s actual spouse, advantaged to all rights that cachet entails.
Brown’s added brood may address this accommodation to the South Carolina Supreme Court, but in the meantime, the ambassador of Brown’s acreage acclimatized with Hynie afterward the Cloister of Appeals ruling.
Dispute Over Ancestors of James Brown II
Not alone has Hynie’s alliance to Brown been a antecedent of battle for years, but the catechism of whether Hynie’s son, the appropriately called James Brown II, was Brown’s biological son is additionally one that arose amid Hynie (and James II) and Brown’s added heirs. Brown’s added brood asserted that Brown had undergone a vasectomy in the 1980s, absolutely to abstain ancestors apparel in the future, and appropriately James II couldn’t possibly be his son. However, James II underwent two abstracted DNA tests, actually proving that he is Brown’s biological son.
Even admitting the controversies apropos the character of Brown’s brood appear to be extensive a resolution, the argument over Brown’s acreage is far from over. In January 2018, Brown’s brood filed a federal accusation adjoin Hynie, James II, and the ambassador of Brown’s acreage and trustee of his assurance in the U.S. District Cloister for the Central District of California over the copyrights over Brown’s music catalog. This accusation has back been transferred to the U.S. District Cloister for the District of South Carolina, but the case continues.
Thus, as is abominably all too accepted aback celebrities canyon away, James Brown’s ancestors appears to be bound in financially and emotionally cher action for the accountable future. What affect the advancing affairs accept on both probate and ancestors law in South Carolina and absorb law nationally charcoal to be seen, but it is assertive that both acknowledged practitioners and admirers of Brown’s all-inclusive works will be watching with absent fascination.
Andrew Smith is a litigator at acreage planning and probate law close Weinstock Manion. He works carefully with fiduciaries, beneficiaries and institutions, finer allegorical them through all states of litigation, including discovery, arbitration and trial.
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