As the Godfather of Soul once sang, “Give it up, or turn it loose.” If only his family would take his advice and turn his Estate loose. Instead, the Estate of the late James Brown is a mess, even though he had an estate plan in place when he died. It appears some people want a piece of his pie, at the expense of Mr. Brown’s wishes, as reflected in his Last Will and Testament.
Similar to the debacle we saw play out with respect to Prince’s estate, Howard Hughes’ death without a Last Will also engendered wild claims to his fortune and extensive litigation, the last of which is finally nearing resolution 34 years later. So what happened to all of Hughes’ money? Aside from the lawyers, various cousins and other relatives (now numbering about 475) inherited his vast estate. It was well-known that he didn’t want his estate falling into the hands of any distant relatives but without a Will, the distant cousins were his heirs under Texas law.
What Houstonian could ever forget the sight of Anna Nicole Smith going into court, paparazzi crowding around her courthouse entrance, in order to challenge the Last Will and related Trust established by her late husband, J. Howard Marshall II? Read about the tangled web created when an 89 year old billionaire marries a Playmate of the Year, and dies a year later. The litigation followed for 2 decades.