Music legend James Brown died just about 12 years ago on Christmas Day in 2006. He had an estate plan in place, but this did not stop estate litigation from happening. His estate has yet to be distributed as there are unresolved issues that various members of his family keep taking to court. While most New Jersey residents do not have estates as vast as Mr. Brown’s, when family members disagree with how assets should be divided, estate litigation may take some time to resolve the issues — though hopefully not over a decade.
According to a recent report, a probate case was opened for James Brown’s estate in Jan. 2007. The will provided to the court did not provide for his current wife and son from that marriage. His loved ones claim that she was not actually married to him as she was married to another man when their wedding occurred. They also claim her son, James II, was not his as he had a vasectomy years prior to avoid having any more children.
Regarding the validity of the marriage, in July 2018, the South Carolina Court of Appeals ruled that the marriage to his fourth and final was indeed valid. Regarding paternity of James II, two separate DNA tests proved otherwise. While these issues would seem to be resolved, Mr. Brown’s other surviving children and grandchildren are still unwilling to let this and other issues surrounding his estate go, so it remains in litigation and will not be distributed to beneficiaries any time soon.
When estates are particularly large or there are complex issues that must be resolved, estate litigation can take time. Obviously, the goal is to resolve the issues as quickly as possible as to avoid the costs that come with litigation, but sometimes that just does not happen. Those who need assistance closing out estates in New Jersey can turn to an experienced attorney who can help them through the probate process and litigation — if it proves necessary.