Protecting inheritance is important, and, when it comes to the potential for arguments among family members, the documents which are drafted specifically to distribute an inheritance can be of the utmost importance. That's why in one fight involving a high-profile individual, the fight was over almost as soon as it began.
A couple of weeks ago a previous post discussed the looming battle between the daughter of Whitney Houston, 19-year-old Bobbi Kristina Houston, and Whitney Houston's mother and sister-in-law. As our Michigan readers may recall, Whitney Houston left a $20 million inheritance for her daughter, to be distributed over time through the use of a trust. Trusts can be especially effective for just this type of distribution, which calls for a managed distribution over a period of years to a relatively young adult.
The problem arose, however, when Whitney Houston's mother and sister-in-law sought to limit the distribution beyond what was called for in the original estate documents, believing that the substantial sums of money to be distributed could lead to a destructive lifestyle for the 19-year-old, high-profile daughter. As it turns out, however, the legal teams for both sides inevitably agreed, apparently, that the Houston's estate planning documents were absolutely without error, and there was no way to get around the wishes she expressed in those documents. As a result, Houston's 19-year-old daughter will indeed get the distributions from the inheritance exactly as it is scheduled in the estate documents.
According to the reports, Bobbi Kristina Houston is scheduled to receive 10 percent of the $20 million inheritance when she turns twenty-one, another 20 percent when she turns twenty-five and then she will get all of the remaining funds when she turns thirty.
As this case demonstrates, the exact language of estate planning documents is very important. Anyone interested in including a trust in their estate documents, be it a revocable trust, irrevocable trust or a living trust, should be sure to get the right information on the best way to proceed.
Source: Examiner.com, "Bobbi Kristina will get inheritance from Whitney Houston estate," Dannette Brooks, Oct. 30, 2012