One of the most important goals in planning an estate is preventing the surviving heirs from having to litigate certain issues. If a will is not legally sound, then relatives or beneficiaries may enter prolonged legal battles over the estate.
A prominent example of drawn-out estate litigation involves the last will and testament of soul singer James Brown. After the rock icon passed away in 2006, his family disputed numerous aspects of his will. Their legal battle has raged on for 13 years, and it shows no sign of stopping.
A years-long family dispute
The family disputes the validity of Brown’s marriage to his fourth wife, who was married to another man when she and Brown wed. Brown’s heirs also disputed the paternity of James Brown II, who took two DNA tests to prove that the soul singer was his biological father.
These issues have taken over 12 years to resolve, and the heirs’ litigation shows no sign of stopping. In 2018, several heirs sued Brown’s former wife, his son and his estate administrator over the copyrights to his music catalog.
Many families must face estate litigation
Celebrities are not the only people whose estates become the subject of litigation. Families throughout New York and Connecticut may find it necessary to dispute their deceased loved one’s estate. These lawsuits may involve legally questionable marriages and paternity disputes, as with Brown’s estate. In addition, some family members may question whether their relative was subject to undue influence when creating their will.
Often, families can avoid litigation by seeking legal counsel to help them resolve estate disputes. Estate attorneys can help families resolve disputes out of court. A protracted lawsuit is not what anyone wants to handle following the death of their loved one, but for some heirs, it is necessary.