Page last updated at 08:14 GMT, Wednesday, 27 May 2009 09:14 UK

Judge settles Brown estate battle

James Brown
James Brown was considered one of the world's greatest soul singers

A US judge has ended a bitter two-year battle over the late soul singer James Brown's estate.

Judge Jack Early has ruled half of his assets will go to a charitable trust, a quarter to his wife and young son, and the rest to his six adult children.

Brown's family and wife Tomi Rae Hynie Brown have fought over his fortune since he died of heart failure in 2006.

Judge Early wrote in his court report that the undisclosed settlement is "just and reasonable".

'Relieved and happy'

He added: "From the perspective of the charitable beneficiaries, the risks of not approving the settlement agreement are substantial."

The settlement also establishes that Tomi Rae Hynie Brown is the star's surviving spouse and her son is his child.

Last year, a US court ordered a DNA test to be carried out on the boy to prove Brown was his father, but that is no longer required.

In a statement to news agency The Associated Press, Brown's widow said: "I am so relieved and happy that the court has approved this settlement.

It has been a struggle, but God has blessed us and we are thankful
Deanna Brown, James Brown's daughter

"I want to be able to work with the trustees and other Brown family members to promote James Brown's legacy.

"My son James and I are grateful to the judge and hope this nightmare is finally over."

The judge has also ruled that Brown's relatives will create a museum or some other memorial for the late singer.

Brown's daughter, Deanna Brown, said: "It has been a struggle, but God has blessed us and we are thankful.

"We look forward to working towards the goals of our father by providing education scholarships for impoverished students and his own grandchildren, and making his home a museum for the world to come and see."

Lawyers have said the soul singer's accounts have little money in them.

Last July, some of his possessions were auctioned off, partly to pay off debts, however royalties from the musician's music will continue to make future income.



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