• News/ 

    James Brown Heirs End Feud Over Soul Man's Estate

    James Brown Passing Wireimage

    James Brown can rest a little more peacefully now.

    Papa's kids apparently got a bag they can live with, so a South Carolina judge has signed off on a settlement agreement reached by the Godfather of Soul's various heirs.

    Brown's six adult children had been battling the singer's widow, Tomi Rae Hynie, over the fruits of his estate practically since his death from heart failure on Christmas Day in 2006.

    Per the terms of the agreement, about half of Brown's assets will be placed in a charitable trust set up by Brown to pay for his grandchildren's education and to help needy children in South Carolina and Georgia; a quarter will go to Hynie and her young son with Brown, James Brown II. The rest will be split among Brown's older children.

    "From the perspective of the charitable beneficiaries, the risks of not approving the settlement agreement are substantial," Judge Jack Early wrote in his decision, noting that more than $1 million has been frittered away already in legal fees and other estate-related expenses.

    Hynie sued for half of Brown's estate in early 2007 after being locked out of the Beech Island, S.C., home she and Brown had shared.

    While Brown's grown children questioned the validity of the duo's marriage and whether James Brown II was indeed sired by his namesake, Hynie argued that she and her son were entitled to half of everything, although Brown hadn't found the opportunity to add them to his will.

    "I am so relieved and happy that the court has approved this settlement," Hynie said in a statement Tuesday. "I want to be able to work with the trustees and other Brown family members to promote James Brown's legacy. My son James and I are grateful to the judge and hope this nightmare is finally over."

    A DNA test proved that little James was his father's son last May.