Wednesday, October 3, 2012
As I have previously discussed here and here, Emily Cissy Houston, Whitney's mother, and Marion Houston, Whitney's sister-in-law, petitioned the court to change Bobbi Kristina's inheritance distributions under her mother's testamentary trust. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that Emily and Marion's petition will be successful. There are two basic reasons for why this is the case.
- The petition does not outline exactly how the trust should be changed. Emily and Marion only petitioned the court to change the trust to reflect what Whitney intended.
- Based upon the petition and the facts surrounding this case, it would difficult for the court to justify changing the distribution scheme to anything else. This is an excellent example of why a person should frequently update his or her estate planning documents. The fact here is that Whitney Houston had plenty of opportunity to change her will and the testamentary trust, and choose not to change the terms of the trust. During the 20 year period between when she created the will and her death, Whitney even amended the document with a codicil to change the trustee. At this time, she did not change the distribution scheme within the trust. Therefore, it is highly likely that a court would come to a conclusion that the current scheme is the scheme that Whitney actually wanted.
See Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Whitney Houston's Family Doesn't Trust Bobbi Kristina's Ability To Handle Money, Forbes, Oct. 2, 2012.
Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this to my attention.