With the untimely death last week of legendary singer and actress Whitney Houston, sales of anything related to Houston are soaring, as is often the case after the death of an artist. While Houston’s estate is not worth anything near what an artist like Michael Jackson’s was, it is worth enough to fight over as we are already starting to see.
Houston’s ex-husband, singer Bobby Brown, was invited to the funeral, but didn’t last long. The couple had a publicly tumultuous relationship until they split in 2007. Reports are that Houston’s family does not want Brown near the couple’s 18 year old daughter, Bobbi Kristina, for fear that he will try to gain access to some of Houston’s money through her. Although it appears as though Houston did leave behind a Last Will and Testament, that alone may not be sufficient to resolve any fears about who will receive Houston’s estate.
While Bobbi Kristina is old enough to inherit directly, leaving a substantial amount of money to an 18 year old is rarely a good idea, even under the best of circumstances. Rumors have circulated for some time that, like her mother, Bobbi Kristina may also be struggling with some addiction issues, making this far less than ideal circumstances. In the absence of a valid trust agreement, a direct bequest in a Will may spur a battle for conservatorship over Bobbi Kristina’s finances, including the money inherited from her mother. Yet again, another example of why thorough estate planning is so important.