James_Brown

Source: music-news.com

Judges at South Carolina's Supreme Court have ruled James Brown's final partner is not entitled to a share of his fortune because their marriage was not legally binding.

Tomi Rae Hynie has been fighting for a cut of the Godfather of Soul's estate ever since his death on Christmas Day in 2006, even though it was his dying wish to leave nearly all of his assets to a children's education foundation to fund scholarships.

Hynie, who had a son with Brown, maintained the couple's 2001 nuptials were legal, even though she was still married to another man at the time.

The South Carolina judge overseeing the estate battle previously decided she was the star's legal wife as her ex-husband had committed bigamy, therefore voiding the union and paving the way for her to lay claim to a chunk of the musician's riches, previously estimated to be around $100 million (£81 million).

However, the court fight has continued for years, and on Wednesday The Associated Press reported that Supreme Court justices had issued a unanimous verdict, declaring Hynie has no right to the soul icon's money because she failed to annul her previous marriage.

The court ordered officials to "promptly proceed with the probate of Brown's estate in accordance with his estate plan", which outlined the singer's hopes to establish an I Feel Good trust, funded by his music royalties, to cover educational costs for kids in his native South Carolina and his adopted home state of Georgia.

Although the current value of Brown's estate is unknown, finances are believed to have taken a huge hit as a result of the long-running legal drama.