Yukon, Oklahoma, residents may have heard that Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, recently passed away. She left behind a number of estate planning issues. Brown was Houston’s only child and inherited all of Houston’s assets after Houston’s death, through a spendthrift trust. Brown was to receive the trust assets in three parts. She would receive the first portion when she was 21-years-old. At that point, she would receive 10 percent of the trust assets. Then, at age 25, she would receive 30 percent of the trust assets. Finally, at age 30, she would receive the remaining trust assets.
Brown was 22-years-old at the time of her death, so she only received the first portion of the spendthrift trust left to her by Houston. While the exact value of Houston’s estate is not known, it is believed to be worth millions, including personal property, such as clothing, jewelry, automobiles and music royalties and profits from Houston’s records. According to one attorney, Houston’s will provides that if Brown passes away without a will, childless and while she was still single, the remainder of Houston’s estate will be passed onto Houston’s other survivors — her mother and two brothers.
Unfortunately, situations like this are often hotly contested. For example, Houston’s ex-husband would not receive any of the remainder in Houston’s estate. But, he would be the only beneficiary of Brown’s estate, in the absence of a will. If Brown married, her husband would inherit at least a part of her estate. Brown had a boyfriend at the time of her death, which she held out to the public as her husband, though, it is not known whether the two were legally married. It is important to note that common law marriage is not allowed in the state where the couple lived.
Unfortunately, even when a young person passes away, battles between heirs may ensue. This is a prime example of why even young people should have an estate plan in place. By creating an estate plan, a person is able to set out clear guidelines as to how he or she wants his or her estate to be distributed upon death. Doing so could help avoid messy battles during what is understandably an emotional time.
Source: Wealth Management, “Bobbi Kristina Brown’s Death Leaves Whitney Houston’s Estate in Limbo,” Anna Sulkin, July 28, 2015