When Whitney Houston passed away, her estate was worth around $20 million. Of course, this was more than enough to meet her daughter’s needs. Her only daughter, Bobbi Kristina, died tragically only a few years following her mother’s death.
Some familiar with the situation feel that a contributing factor to her death was the easy access to so much money. It is not uncommon to see people make the same mistakes as Whitney Houston as they make their estate plan.
Whitney Houston’s aunt and grandmother tried to re-write the will to make it harder for Bobbi to have such easy access to all that money. They believed she was not mature enough to handle so a large amount of money and that this ease of access is not what Houston really desired for her daughter.
These ladies probably had the best interests of Bobbi at heart, but the courts are required to follow the actual documents of the trust rather than try to determine what the deceased may have intended.
Whitney Houston created her will in 1993 before she even had any children. She asked that a trust be created after she died for any children she may have at the time. Sadly, she never made any updates or changes to her will before she passed away.
No one will ever really know if a lack of access to so much money would have changed the course of young Bobbi’s life. It is generally accepted that inheriting large amounts of money at a young age is not the best plan. Even when the young beneficiary is a responsible person, they may easily be influenced or manipulated by those with less honorable intentions.
Whitney certainly could have created a better estate plan, but she is definitely not the only parent to forget to follow through with changes in their will. Many people have the best of intentions but don’t take the time to see their intentions become a reality. It is important to take the time to update your document in order to put your beneficiaries in the best possible position.
It is possible for you to put your beneficiaries in a great position to be successful. This almost always means that you create a trust which allows limited access to your money over a period of time. You would also be wise to place a trustee over the account that is trusted by you and is also looking out for your child’s best interests.
Call us and let us provide you with the tools to set up this situation for your children. As Houston’s example demonstrates, the wrong inheritance scenario can create tragic situations. Take the steps necessary to protect those you love the most.