More than six years after the death of legendary soul singer James Brown, the South Carolina Supreme Court issued a critical ruling that may finally allow a legal dispute to wind down. At his 2006 death, Brown left a detailed will and trust indicating that he wanted his personal and household possessions divided between his six adult children, two million dollars to go to a trust for the education of his grandchildren, and the rest going to a charitable trust.
In a previous post, we wrote about the death of Thomas Kinkade earlier this year. As we noted, the 54-year-old painter died of accidental alcohol and Valium overdose, leaving behind over $66 million. Not long after his death, his estranged wife of 30 years and his girlfriend became locked in a battle over Kinkade's estate.
Two years before his death in 2004, singer Ray Charles created a $500,000 trust for each of his 12 children. In exchange, they were to relinquish and waive any further claims to his estate. That, at least, is what The Ray Charles Foundation claims in a lawsuit it recently filed against seven of Charles' children.
The recent death of Whitney Houston has been an occasion for the music industry to mourn one of its greatest talents. For estate planners, it has been an occasion to learn from mistakes she and her attorneys made in her own estate plan.
With Steve Jobs' success as an entrepreneur, many would no doubt have been interested to know what his estate might look like. But it seems that he wished to avoid the publicity.