It was just weeks ago that Whitney Houston won a lawsuit against her step-mother to collect the proceeds of her father’s estate. Now the question is whether daughter Bobbi Kristina, who has a reported history of drug use and emotional problems, will inherit her grandfather’s money outright if Houston did not have enough time to protect the cash.
Orange County, CA (2/14/12)- It’s a common fear for any parent: suddenly passing away and having their child inherit their money outright at age 18, before the child is mature or responsible enough to handle such a large sum of cash.
That’s why many parents leaving a significant inheritance to their children choose to place their money in a trust, which helps to ensure their money is not lost or wasted on things like fancy cars, luxury items, gambling, foolish spending or expensive drug habits. Leaving an inheritance in an asset-protected manner also helps to protect family wealth in the event the child faces a future lawsuit or messy divorce.
Whitney Houston may have had the same concerns about leaving money outright at age 18 to her own daughter, Bobbi Kristina, who recently has been photographed using drugs, partying and acting erratically.
It’s likely that Houston took some form of precaution to protect her daughter in the event of her untimely death, but when it comes to money Houston recently inherited from her father, Orange County estate planning attorney Darlynn Morgan warns it may be too late to keep it from Bobbi Kristina’s hands.
“There’s a good chance that Whitney didn’t have time to plan for the money that she was just awarded from her father’s estate, “ says Morgan. “If that is the case, the money will likely end up in the probate court and will eventually be awarded outright to Bobbi Kristina, who is her surviving heir,” she adds.
Morgan believes that this oversight could prove very dangerous to Bobbi Kristina, who may not be stable enough to handle such a large sum of money following her mother’s death.
“Bobbi Kristina is in a very fragile state and she’s very young. There are people that might try to take advantage of that and get close to her because of the money she’s about to receive. It also makes it that much harder to avoid situations that got her parents in trouble in the past,” says Morgan.
Morgan believes there is a lesson in Houston’s death for all parents to take precautions and protect their money in such a way that it would not hurt their children in the event of their untimely death. She says legal tools such as living trusts are great ways to place age restrictions and some oversight on family wealth to ensure that it lasts.
For more information about concerns regarding Whitney Houston’s estate or about Orange County attorney Darlynn Morgan, please visit www.morganlawgroup.com or call (949) 260-1400.