Estate Planning

Late “Bodyguard” singer’s Will under scrutiny

Forbes Magazine reported earlier this month that Whitney Houston’s Will was being challenged in court by none other than the late singer’s own mother and sister-in-law, Cissy and Marion Houston. Unlike the infamous quarrel over the Michael Jackson estate, this is not an alleged cash grab. Rather, Cissy and Marion have expressed their doubts over Bobbi Kristina’s (Whitney Houston’s 19-year old daughter) ability to handle her late mother’s estate – estimated to be worth millions of dollars.

Whitney Houston’s Will contains a trust for her daughter. As the sole heiress of a Will drafted in 1993, Bobbi is due to inherit large sums of money which could provide for her entire future.

It’s no secret that the rich and famous can often be a target: thieves, scammers, and deceitful family members all seem to come out of the woodwork. It’s also no secret that young people in their early teens and late twenties may not have the judgement to handle large sums of money. Bobbi’s alleged lack of judgement and those targeting her large inheritance, are, say Cissy and Marion, the primary reasons as to why they are disputing various sections of Whitney Houston’s Will: they want to protect Bobbi from herself.

A recent petition filed by Cissy and Marion states that Bobbi “is a highly visible target for those who would exert undue influence over her inheritance and/or seek to benefit from [Bobbi Kristina’s] resources and celebrity.” The petition does not make any specific changes as to how much money Bobbi should inherit over the next decade or so, only requesting that the court alter the financial payouts in a manner consistent with “what Whitney would have wanted.”

There are two main issues with the petition in question:

1) There is no actual mention of how Bobbi Kristina should inherit her mother’s vast fortune. The petition only alludes to financial payments in a “manner consistent with what Whitney would have wanted.”

2) Whitney Houston had nearly two decades to make alterations to her Will, and even created a codicil (a supplement to her Will in 2000). At no time did Whitney attempt to alter the financial distribution of her daughter’s inheritance.