James Brown’s Estate Is Reportedly Almost Settled 15 Years After His Death

James Brown performs at "Fogg Fest" at Fort Mason on August 20, 2006 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

James Brown’s Estate Is Reportedly Almost Settled 15 Years After His Death

The settlement should resolve several outstanding lawsuits.

UPDATED ON : JULY 17, 2021 / 09:22 AM

Written by Quinci LeGardye

The dispute over James Browns estate is reportedly coming to an end 15 years after the legend’s death in 2006.

Brown’s children and the estate’s administrator, Russell L. Bauknight, announced that a settlement was reached last Friday after two months of “lengthy discussions.” The settlement will resolve outstanding lawsuits centered on the estate and will allow the process of fulfilling “Mr. Brown’s noble estate plan to fund scholarships.”

Bauknight has previously estimated that Brown’s estate is worth $4.7 million. There have been other estimates that it could be as much as $100 million, according to Vanity Fair, not including his hundreds of songwriting copyrights, which are not a part of the estate.

Brown left the bulk of the inheritance toward scholarships, with some of his children receiving some of his “costumes and personal effects.”

With the new settlement, the estate can fulfill one of Brown’s final wishes, creating a charity that would give millions of dollars worth of educational scholarships to poor and underprivileged children in South Carolina and Georgia.

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Brown’s assets have been at the center of various lawsuits brought by the singer’s children, his former romantic partner, and various administrators, Vanity Fair reports.

The terms of the settlement are secret, according to Vanity Fair. Marc Toberoff, a lawyer for five of Brown’s children, three of Brown’s grandchildren, and the estate of another child, told the New York Times, “The matter has been settled,” but did not divulge further details.

Brown’s children and grandchildren were known to be requesting a percentage of the proceeds from his songwriting copyrights. Previous lawsuits against the estate have included accusations of conspiracy and “illegal back-room agreements,” allegedly keeping the musician’s heirs from receiving their share of his copyrights.

His children and grandchildren can now benefit from music streaming, radio play, and the licensing of songs for movies and TV commercials.

According to Vanity Fair, another dispute over the estate was the validity of Brown’s marriage to backup singer Tommie Rae Hynie, who acted as his widow following his death.

Hynie made copyright deals worth millions of dollars until the Supreme Court of South Carolina ruled in 2020 that she was never Brown’s legal spouse because she had not annulled a previous marriage.

Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

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