A Matter of Trust: How Did Whitney Houston Plan Her Estate?

Posted by adaniels in Blog on March 5, 2012

Whitney Houston’s finances were reportedly problematic before her untimely death last month. And the argument her ex-husband Bobby Brown allegedly had with her family at her funeral “provided the first public glimpse of what may be trouble involving her estate,” two estate planning experts write for OnWallStreet.com.

Legacy planning experts Danielle and Andy Mayoras note that Houston’s family, according to news reports, may be trying to keep Brown away from Bobbi Kristina Brown, Houston and Brown’s daughter, because they are worried Brown might try to get at his daughter’s inheritance.

While it is unclear how much money Houston’s estate has, and how much the estate could potentially end up with due to increased record sales, the authors say that they “hope” that Houston had had more than a will when it came to planning her estate. That’s because, according to the Mayorases, for most people with a little bit of money, they need more than a will to protect their assets if they were to pass away.

They say that “Whitney Houston’s passing provides a perfect illustration of why this is true.” If Houston had only a will, she may have left everything to her daughter, who is just 18 years old. “How many 18-year-olds do you know who are responsible enough to handle a large sum of money?” the authors write. “Not many.”

The writers also raise the case that if Bobbi Kristina Brown has substance abuse problems, as TMZ has reported, then Brown could theoretically go to court to get a conservatorship to manage her finances. And her father would have standing to do this, as what happened when Britney Spears’ father got conservatorship over her affairs. “Will Bobby Brown try something similar?” the authors write. “He could. At least, if Whitney Houston only had a basic will.”

It is unclear at this point what type of financial planning Houston had set up, but the Mayorases say that the case shows the need for people to protect their assets with trusts, not just wills.

Written by Lisa Swan

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