Two former trustees for James Brown's estate claim the judge handling the disputes over the late soul singer's finances forced them to resign.

Buddy Dallas and Alford Bradley, who both spent years handling Brown's financial affairs, resigned Nov. 20 during a court hearing before Circuit Judge Jack Early.

They said in court documents filed Tuesday they want to retract their resignations, claiming Early used "improper judicial influence," The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle reported.

An assistant to Early told The Associated Press on Wednesday the judge was out of the office and could not immediately respond.

Brown died last year in Atlanta on Christmas, throwing into turmoil the future of his trust, which is said to contain most of Brown's primary assets, including music rights and his 60-acre Beech Island home in South Carolina. Their total value is still unclear.

The singer's six adult children have been at odds with the trustees, claiming money has been mismanaged. And several people — including some claiming to be Brown's unacknowledged children — have come forward wanting a piece of his estate.

Brown established two trusts — one to provide for poor children to go to school in Georgia and South Carolina and another to pay for his grandchildren to go to school.

"The ultimate goal is for Mr. Brown's wishes to be carried out," Dallas told the AP on Wednesday, referring to the singer's desire to help the children.

In the court papers, Dallas and Bradley asked that the order accepting their resignations and appointing successors be overturned, the newspaper reported.

Two special administrators who were hired to help settle the estate, Adele Pope and Robert Buchanan, were named trustees at the Nov. 20 hearing.

Also at that hearing, former trustee David Cannon was held in contempt.

Administrators looking into the handling of Brown's estate told the judge in September that Cannon, who stepped down as a trustee the month before, may have misappropriated up to $7 million.