Lessons to be learned from Bobbi Kristina's estate
If you thought the end to iconic singer Whitney Houston’s life was sad, the fact that her only child passed away in the same manner is equally, if not more disturbing. Bobbi Kristina had been in a coma for months after she was found submerged in a bathtub, in the same fashion that her mother was found on the eve of the Grammy awards in 2012.
Bobbi Kristina was laid to rest last week, next to her mother in a New Jersey cemetery. However, the battle over her estate appears to be only beginning. Indeed, Whitney Houston’s will made Bobbi Kristina her sole heir, but the will stipulates that if Bobbi passed away without any heirs or a will of her own, Houston’s estate would be equally divided among her living relatives.
Houston’s will, which was drafted about 20 years ago, listed her mother and father, her two brothers and her husband Bobby Brown as her relatives. Houston’s father passed away in 2003, and she divorced Brown in 2007. Also, Bobbi Kristina’s rumored husband, Nick Gordon, is believed to be angling for a portion of her estate.
There are a number of questions to be answered regarding the fate of Bobbi Kristina’s estate. The divorce to Bobby Brown largely forecloses his right to inherit the remainder of her estate; specifically the majority of Houston’s fortune when her daughter was to turn 30, but state intestate laws could entitle him to her existing assets. Bobbi Kristina was awarded 10 percent of Houston’s estate last year when she turned 21.
Regardless, the story is an example of why it is helpful to have an experienced estate planning attorney when drafting a will or administering an estate.