A recent on-line article in Rolling Stone magazine describes how nearly five years following the death of the legendary James Brown, his estate, which had a value of approximately $100 million dollars on the date of his death, remains undistributed.
Mr. Brown intended that the majority of his estate be used to educate underprivileged children in South Carolina and Georgia. However, following his death in December 2006, his fourth wife and seven children instigated an estate litigation that did not reach a formal settlement until 2009. Despite this settlement, the article notes that no estate funds have been distributed since 2009 and no estate funds will likely be distributed until several outstanding appeals are concluded.
This is another example of the recent trend among high net worth individuals to leave the bulk of their fortunes to charitable causes and of how the charitable intentions of such individuals can be frustrated or delayed by protracted estate litigation involving disappointed family members.