Last Will and Testament of Whitney E. Houston... simplicity at its worst

Whitney Houston’s Last Will and Testament, executed Feb 3rd, 1993 but updated in 2000 and 2004, demonstrates a very simple estate plan. Whitney’s Will seems to have been drafted for someone with modest means… not someone whose estate is estimated to be between $50 and $100 million.

To make a long story short, Whitney’s sole daughter, Bobbi Kristina, received everything under the terms of the Will. Although Bobby Brown, Whitney’s mother, father, and brothers were mentioned, they received nothing.

The only caveat to the Will is that distributions made to individuals under the age of 30 are to be held in trust. Thus, because Bobbi was 19 at the time, she will get 1/10th of the estate when she turns 21, an additional 1/6th when she reaches 25, and the remainder at 30. According to this distribution, Bobbi Kristina will be entitled to all of the $100 million estate when she is 30, which for most kids is a very bad idea. It also does not appear that any tax planning went into the Will, which could have saved literally millions of dollars in tax.

As a side note, the trust established in Whitney Houston’s Will is called a “Testamentary Trust.” This type of trust does not arise until the death of the maker of the Will. A trust can also be set up during the life of the person. These types of trusts are called an “Inter Vivos Trust.” In either case, the person creating the trust transfers assets into the trust; the trust is then managed by a Trustee for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries (in this case, Bobbi Kristina).

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