Money laundering

In 2007, Hynie contested the will, claiming to be Brown’s wife and entitled to a spousal share of his estate. Under a settlement deal approved in 2009, Hynie was given one-quarter of Brown’s music empire, and the six children named in his will were given another quarter. The settlement was overturned in May 2013 by the South Carolina Supreme Court, which called the deal a “dismemberment” of Brown’s “noble” estate plan. Since the 2013 ruling, Hynie has renewed her spousal claim, and her motion for summary judgment is scheduled for Nov. 24.

Was James Brown married when he passed away in 2006? The answer to that question is the key to settling Brown’s estate, once and for all.

James Brown’s will left nothing to his longtime companion, Tomirae Hynie. After Brown passed away Hynie contested the will claiming to be Brown’s wife. A recent article in Watchdog Wire reveals some unusual details about this unusual case.

The article is titled SC: James Brown Companion Moves to Ban DNA-Proven Children From Estate Hearings.”

At one point Brown and Hynie did in fact get married. However, that marriage was later voided by law because it was discovered that Hynie was married to another man at the time.

Hynie’s response?

Hynie claims the marriage to the other man was an immigration scam that was never consummated.

Brown later refused to remarry Hynie, but she believes that their original marriage should be upheld as valid. At one point, a settlement was reached in the case giving a portion of the estate to Hynie. However, the South Carolina Supreme Court voided that settlement recently.

The real issue here is whether Hynie was married to Brown when he passed away. If yes, then the fact she was not mentioned in the will is irrelevant. As the surviving spouse, Hynie would be entitled to a “spousal elective share” portion of the Brown estate.

Before she can get that spousal elective share portion of the estate, Hynie must convince the court to uphold a marriage that took place while she was already married to someone else.

That will not be an easy task.

Reference: Watchdog Wire (November 14, 2014) SC: James Brown Companion Moves to Ban DNA-Proven Children From Estate Hearings

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Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.