The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, has been dead for over six years, but his estate his still being fought over in court, reports the Associated Press.
On Wednesday, the South Carolina Supreme Court overturned a settlement that divided up Brown’s estate. The court believes the settlement, brokered by former Attorney General Henry McMaster, didn’t follow the singer’s final wishes.
McMaster’s deal, completed in 2009, gave almost half of Brown’s estate to a charitable trust for education, a quarter to his widow, and the remaining quarter to Brown’s children. However, before Brown’s death on Christmas Day of 2006, he signed a will giving most of his estate to charity, possibly leaving little for his surviving family.
Chief Justice Jean Toal believes that if McMaster’s deal remained in place it would discourage people from leaving their fortunes to charity—fearing their final wishes would not be respected.
“James Brown was certainly devoted to the cause of education,” said James Richardson. “Today’s decision means that the bulk of his fortune will go to the cause of educating needy children.”
Despite the court’s final decision, McMaster stands by his deal. “I believe we took the correct legal steps to make the very best of a bad situation,” said McMaster. “We worked hard to see that Mr. Brown’s wishes were effectuated to the furthest extent they could be.”