The Last Will and Testament of James Brown

The Last Will and Testament of James Brown was drafted by the offices of H. Dewain Herring, LLC of Columbia, South Carolina and was published on August 1, 2000.

The will consists of an introductory clause/preamble, followed by 10 main items/clauses. The introductory clause and revocatory clause were combined into one paragraph.

Mr. Brown made use of separate written memoranda to dispose of his personal effects, such as apparel, vehicles, furniture and books, as well as the insurance intended to protect such items. Copies of the memoranda were not published, so the exact distribution of these items was kept private. In the occasion that not all items were covered by the memoranda, or if the memoranda were not found, instructions were left to distribute items to his surviving children, in equal shares (or to the issue of a deceased child).

Mr. Brown’s appointed personal representatives were charged with the distribution of his personal effects and packing/shipping costs were instructed to be charged against the estate as an administrative expense.

An inter vivos trust was created to dispose of all other property not covered by the memoranda. The beneficiaries of this trust were Mr. Brown’s 3 co-trustees. Property was placed in the trust using a pour over gift, keeping the contents of the trust private.

An executor clause was placed in the will which provided detailed instructions regarding the naming of personal representatives and the naming of successor representatives should the need arise. The definition of a personal representative, and powers, fees and voting rights for said representatives was also covered.

The final item in the will is an interrorum clause, meant to discourage anyone from the contesting the will. It states that any beneficiary, who contests the will, will forfeit their interest, and that interest will pass to another. It also reiterates that anyone not specifically provided for in the will has no standing to challenge its contents. This would prove to be problematic, since the will did not provide for a child that was born to Mr. Brown and his wife after its execution.

The testimonium, attestation and self-proving affidavit were combined on the final page of the document. Only two witnesses were used, one of them being the Notary Public.

The self-proving affidavit was manually altered to change both the state and county of execution. The possibility of this causing Mr. Brown’s place of domicile to be called into question was covered by item IX in the will-the Severability and State Law to Govern clause. This clause basically states that the will should be regulated and governed by the State of South Carolina.

 

 

 

 

1 thought on “The Last Will and Testament of James Brown

  1. Tashi Post author

    Overall, I found Mr. Brown’s will to be thorough, particularly when it came to the personal representatives and the disposition of his personal property. I disagreed however, with the way he refused to acknowledge any possible heirs other than the ones specifically named. I felt that he should have revised his will to include his youngest child. I also disagreed with the decision to alter the will by manually changing the state and county of execution. Any and all mistakes should have been fixed before the will was signed and notarized, in order to further guard against any possible legal challenge. Mr. Brown’s decision to use written memoranda and an inter vivos trust were, in my opinion, an excellent choice. His privacy was protected and the estate’s tax burden was reduced by the trust.

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