Loved and respected across the globe, Whitney Houston’s death in 2012 shocked the masses. Even more shocking was the death of her only daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown in 2015 at the tender age of 22. The terms of Whitney’s will indicated that her daughter would receive a portion of her estate at 18, another portion at 21, a third portion at 25 and the remainder at when she turned 30.
As Bobbi Kristina died before her 25th birthday, other provisions set out in the will to cover this eventuality took effect. Providing for a number of different scenarios indicates smart estate planning, however Houston can be criticised for only making one will in her lifetime which was made 13 years before her divorce from Bobby Brown.
TIP – As your circumstances change – maybe in terms of your marital status, the children grow up, perhaps the property portfolio is downsized – your priorities will naturally differ at different stages of your life. It is important to regularly review the terms of your will and update it every few years to take account of these changes and ensure the needs of your loved ones are catered for in the best possible way in the event of your death.
TIP – If you make a number of wills during your lifetime, and if the last will you make is found to be invalid, the terms of the second last will would come into effect.
This controversially came to light in the Estate of Michael Jackson. The King of Pop’s fourth will’s validity was called into question by his siblings. However in his case, the four wills Jackson had made during his lifetime were consistent in their terms, with charity, his mother and his children named as his beneficiaries of his enormous fortune. Therefore, even if his fourth and last will was declared invalid, the terms of the third will would essentially provide for the same terms of distribution of the estate.
But what happens where no will is made? After the untimely death of Prince in April earlier this year, all beady eyes were fixated on the value of his estate and who might inherit due to him not making a will.
The superstar was married and divorced twice. It was reported at the time of his death that none of the children from these marriages survived him; of the two marital pregnancies, one miscarried and the other child died shortly after birth.
His parents predeceased him, leaving a sister and five half-siblings surviving the iconic rockstar. Notwithstanding these six relatives, hundreds of people in weeks after his death asserted themselves as beneficiaries in his estate. In recent months however, genetic testing has now proven that Prince did in fact have an illegitimate child who may stand to inherit the entire pot.
They say death and taxes are life’s only certainties but in the case of the above, it is certain that with all the royalties these celebrities generate even after death, their estates will never end!