Sometimes you can go home again.
A South Carolina judge has granted James Brown's longtime companion, Tomi Rae Hynie, permission to return to the singer's Beech Island residence to retrieve her personal belongings, including clothing.
The property has been off-limits to Hynie since Brown's death from congestive heart failure on Dec. 25.
Circuit Court Judge Doyet Early issued his ruling Friday during a hearing attended by both Hynie and Brown's six adult children, the first time that the two sides laying claim to the Godfather of Soul's estate have met up for business purposes since he passed away.
Brown's descendants were in court because they are trying to get their father's longtime attorney, Buddy Dallas, accountant David Cannon and Alford "Judge" Bradley removed as executors of Brown's estate, claiming that the three men haven't been able to impartially carry out their duties.
The kids were also accompanied by the Reverend Al Sharpton, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Hynie sued Brown's estate Feb. 1, referring to herself as the "omitted spouse" and claiming that, as the entertainer's fourth wife, she and son James Brown Jr., 5, are entitled to half of her late husband's estate, despite the fact that neither she nor the boy were provided for in Brown's will. The former backup singer wore a wedding band in court Friday.
Meanwhile, Brown's attorneys, including Dallas, have maintained that the couple were never legally married.
Hynie has challenged the legality of Brown's will, which was signed months before her son's birth. South Carolina probate law mandates that a child who's born after a will was drawn up is entitled to the same inheritance he or she would get if the parent had died without a will.
The document doled out a number of Brown's possessions, such as clothes, jewelry and cars, to his grown children and provided money for the education of his eight grandchildren, but his larger assets, including a 750-title song catalog, are contained within a separate trust.
Friday's hearing, however, was—for Deanna Brown Thomas, Yamma Brown Lumar, Venisha Brown, Larry Brown, Terry Brown and Daryl Brown—all about immediately taking decision-making power away from Dallas, Cannon and Bradley.
The sextet, who presented along with their complaint an affidavit from a security company stating that the trustees entered Brown's residence and opened a secret wall compartment, requested an emergency order to boot the three men from their posts.
Hynie's attorney, Robert Rosen, said that they are looking to have a special administrator assigned to the case.
Early said that he expects to have a decision on the matter sometime next week.
Dallas, who worked for Brown for 25 years, told the Journal-Constitution that he's quite hurt by the family's actions, and attorneys for the trustees said that they're planning on filing a countersuit and have asked for a restraining order to block the Brown family's interference.
"If Mr. Brown were here, it would take about 30 seconds to settle this," Dallas said before the hearing.
Meanwhile, across the country in Los Angeles, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson and Chris Brown are among the performers set to pay tribute to James Brown Sunday at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards. In a symbolic passing-of-the-torch moment, the late soul icon's longtime emcee Danny Ray will drape Brown's signature shiny cape over Chris Brown's shoulders. A surprise artist is slated to sing "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World."