Legal battle set to begin over James Brown's will

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January 18, 2007

Usually it's a private affair, but now James Brown's will is an open book for all to see.

Three weeks after his death, exactly what James Brown's will says has been made public--and there is no mention of Tomi Rae or her little boy, James Brown, Jr.

It's less than ten pages...but in them are some of the Godfather of Soul's last wishes.

His legacy means more than just music and moves. James Brown created a true empire.

Among those who stand to split his assets are his six children Deanna, Yamma, Yanisha, Daryl, Larry and Terry. They'll divide his personal and household effects like furniture, jewelry, clothing and automobiles.

Noticeably not named, however, is Tomi Rae Hynie, who says she was legally married to Brown.

5-year-old James Brown, Jr., the son she's publicly insisted the two shared, is also excluded.

Since Brown's death, Tomi Rae has appeared in interviews here on News 12 and on Larry King Live.

"I just don't understand. I really don't. I'm confused. I'm confused and I'm very hurt," she told News 12 last month after she was locked out of the Beech Island home she and her son shared with Brown.

"And the whole family did not, because the whole family ignored me," she said on Larry King.

Brown's will was drafted in 2000.

Where the paperwork submitted with the will asks if Brown married or had other children since the will was signed, his attorneys check no.

"As to what Mr. Brown said in his will and why, that was his own choosing and for his own reasons," James Huff, Brown's former attorney, told News 12. "Is it fair? I'd say yes."

He says it's Tomi Rae's own fault both she and her son are in this "mess".

That mess will likely stir up even more with the recent release of the entertainer's will.

Mr. Brown died with a personal estate as well as some real estate. The value of these has yet to be determined. Attorneys have until September to get that in order.

His irrevocable trust was divided into two parts: one, a family trust, and the other, an I Feel Good Trust that will help educate needy children.