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Possible claims for Bobbi Kristina Brown’s trust money

Singer Whitney Houston's only child, Bobbi Kristina Brown, recently died, after inheriting only a fraction of her late mother's fortune. The 22-year-old woman had access to 10 percent of her estimated $20 million inheritance, which was placed in a trust. Bobbi Kristina's father, Bobby Brown, was divorced from Houston in 2007, five years before his wife's death.

All of Whitney Houston's assets passed to Bobbi Kristina. Like beneficiaries of trusts set up for some California estate plans, Houston's daughter was due to receive the inheritance in staggered amounts at different ages with a full inheritance at age 30.

According to Houston's will, Bobby Kristina's maternal grandmother, Cissy Houston, and the singer's two brothers stand to inherit the singer's remaining wealth. The estate administrator is Pat Houston, Whitney's sister-in-law, appointed by a probate court after Cissy Houston declined to be the executor.

Pat Houston co-managed the trust with Cissy Houston when Bobbi Kristina was alive. Pat Houston also was appointed one of two guardians, along with Bobby Brown, over Bobbi Kristina after the young woman was found unresponsive in a bathtub in January.

Legal observers believe family members could end up in a lengthy court battle over the inheritance.

Due to the divorce, Bobby Brown probably has no direct claim to Houston's estate. The exception could be the $2 million his daughter received from the trust when she turned 21 last year. Bobbi Kristina had no will or children and apparently was not married, although she claimed to be.

Bobbi Kristina's boyfriend, Nick Gordon, has produced no proof of the marriage. Gordon has been accused of beating Bobbi Kristina on the day she was discovered in the bathtub. Police are investigating whether Gordon's actions caused injuries that led to Bobbi Kristina's death.

Trusts can include specific instructions that direct the flow of assets to beneficiaries. An attorney can help you include a trust in your estate plan.

Source: USA Today, "Who Will Inherit Whitney Houston's Millions?," Maria Puente, July 28, 2015

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