Pop star Whitney Houston was discovered dead this Saturday at a Beverly Hills hotel. Whitney was unconscious underwater in her bathtub when a member of her staff found her. They attempted to resuscitate Whitney, but with no success. Police have confirmed that no foul play is suspected and that toxicology testing is ongoing to discover the cause of death. Some news sites have reported that a combination of high levels of prescription drugs and alcohol were the cause of her death, but this has not been confirmed. In fact, police have said that the results from the toxicology test could take weeks.
Whitney’s family is having the body transported to her native home, New Jersey, for a funeral to be held at the end of the week. Houston was only 48 years old at the time of her death and is survived by her 17 year old daughter, Bobbi Kristina. Our condolences go out all of the family, friends and fans of this beloved pop icon.
Walking A Difficult Path
Whitney Houston was launched into super stardom in her early 20’s, and over the years solidified herself into legend as one of the most talented female voices of our age. However, with all the fame and glory, her world took a turn to a darker side.
Most of her downward slide into drugs and addiction occurred after meeting Bobby Brown in 1989. The couple married in 1992 and had their daughter Bobbi Kristina a year later. After reports of domestic abuse against Brown, and Whitney’s change in personality caused by cocaine and marijuana, her career started to slide downhill. Houston was even fired from a performance slot for the 2000 Oscars ceremony after singing the wrong song at rehearsals. Houston became known as impossible to work with, highly demanding and unreliable.
Friends and family attempted to intervene on multiple occasions. In fact, her mentor Clive Davis even paid for her residential rehab in Pennsylvania. However, even after rehab, Houston continued to slip back into addiction. In fact, Houston even entered rehab again in May, but exhibited signs of drug use after her release.
Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown divorced in 2007.
Estate Planning and Whitney Houston
While it is too early to know what estate planning Whitney Houston may have had in place, we certainly hope she had created a living trust. We would assume that Whitney would want her assets to pass to her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, and that she would want to protect her estate from any attempts by ex-husband Bobby Brown to take the assets away from their child.
Whitney recently went through some lengthy and expensive court battles after the death of her father, John Houston, in 2003. John Houston had a million dollar insurance policy which listed Whitney as the beneficiary. Whitney’s step-mother, Barbara Houston, battled Whitney for the insurance money claiming that the funds were supposed to go to her to pay off the house that she and Whitney’s father had been living in.
Over the years, Whitney had leant funds to her father on multiple occasions, including money to purchase the house in which he and Barbara lived – a house that is owned by Whitney. Whitney stated that the insurance money was to go toward repayment of all the money she had lent to her father.
After a number of court battles and appeals, Whitney came out victorious and was able to keep the insurance money from her father.
Learning from Life’s Lessons
We can only hope that Whitney learned the importance of proper estate planning after nearly 9 years worth of court battles over her father’s estate. Hopefully that experience helped her ensure her assets were protected and distributed according to her exact wishes.
Whitney died at only 48 years old, reminding us all that it is never too early to create an estate plan and ensure your assets and loved ones are properly protected.
Our hearts go out to all those affected by Whitney Houston’s tragic death. Her star shone brightly, but all too briefly.
About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, powers of attorney, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
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