You might remember that when Whitney Houston passed away her estate plan became newsworthy. This is not unusual with celebrity estates. People want to know about what property the celebrity had and who the celebrity left it to. We could use that information to lecture about America’s obsession with celebrities. That would be pointless, however, because celebrity estates present a good opportunity to teach people about estate planning. Whitney Houston’s estate is presenting another opportunity to teach something.
Houston left the majority of her estate to her daughter in a Testamentary Trust. That is a Trust created by a Will. The Trust pays out portions of the assets to her daughter as the daughter reaches different ages. Houston’s mother and sister-in-law are of the opinion that Houston intended to make sure that her daughter was financially secure for life and they do not believe that the payout schedule of the Trust does that. They are asking a Court to make changes to the Trust to fulfill what they think Houston’s goal was.
The Court is unlikely to agree with them because Houston had 20 years to change her estate plan if it was not what she wanted. However, it goes to show that if an estate plan does not fulfill the deceased’s intentions, a Court can change the plan.
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