Estate planning attorneys always try to make their clients understand that estate planning is not a one-time event. It is an ongoing process, and as things change in your life you are going to have to stop and consider how these changes impact your existing estate plan.
One of the most common occurrences that can take place that makes it necessary to adjust your estate plan is a change in marital status. This is an issue that has wound up impacting the estate of the iconic rhythm and blues singer James Brown.
Brown married a woman named Tomi Rae Hynie about five years before his death in 2006, and she says that they had a child together, James Brown II. James Brown had an estate plan in place before this marriage took place leaving his entire fortune, which is estimated to be approximately $100 million, to poor and needy children via a trust that he had created.
There were trustees in place and there is also a former producer of Brown’s named Jacqueline Hollander who claims that she had an agreement with “The Godfather of Soul” to manage this trust. Hollander and the trustees, who have since been removed, are adamant in the claim that James Brown was fully aware of the fact that he was cutting his family members out of any inheritances when he had the trust created and that he was doing so quite intentionally.
Because of the fact that he didn’t update his estate plan after marrying and allegedly having another child the court has been open to the claims of his widow. His children are contending that he was not of sound mind or experiencing undue influence when he created the trust that excluded them.
This case is still hung up in court and as stated previously, Brown died in 2006.