Now that Bobbi Kristina Brown is gone, six months after she mysteriously fell into unconsciousness, what happens to the estate she was to inherit from her late mother, Whitney Houston?
Who will control the estimated millions Houston left in a trust for Bobbi Kristina in her will?
Will it be her grieving father, Bobby Brown? He maintained a vigil at her bedside as she lay in a medically induced coma for months in Atlanta hospitals and a hospice.
Or will it be her maternal family, led by grandmother Cissy Houston and her aunt Pat Houston, who also were at her side? They have controlled the bulk of Bobbi Kristina’s money under the terms of Whitney Houston’s will.
One thing is likely: Many lawyers will be involved.
“It’s going to be a windfall for the lawyers, unfortunately,” says Jerry Reisman, a trusts and estate-law expert and partner at the Long Island firm of Reisman, Peirez, Reisman and Capobianco.
Just three years after her mother was found dead in a bathtub at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Bobbi Kristina was found unresponsive and face down in a bathtub in her Roswell, Ga., home, on Jan. 31. She died Sunday at age 22 at a hospice outside Atlanta.
It is still unclear what happened to her and why, but local police and the district attorney have been investigating whether a crime was committed.
An autopsy to be performed by the Fulton County Medical Examiner could take weeks to produce results, according to a statement issued Monday.
The Brown and Houston families, who have not seen eye to eye on Bobbi Kristina for years, may be headed for a long and expensive litigation unless the two families can come to some agreement outside court. They have already demonstrated they can.
In April, Bobby Brown and Pat Houston were appointed guardians over Bobbi Kristina by a Georgia family court, and a conservator was appointed to look after her assets. Family court hearings in Georgia are closed to the public so no one in the families has spoken publicly about the proceedings.
David Long, attorney for Houston, released a statement for her saying at the time the guardianship case was a “family matter” and would not be discussed publicly.
“We hope to resolve this in a manner that is respectful of Bobbi Kristina’s sensitive health information,” the statement said. “The Houston family has always looked out for the best interest of Bobbi Kristina Brown. … We trust that others have the same objective.”
But the questions about what happens now to her estate suggest a murky legal situation, Reisman says.
“Everyone is going to try to grab (her money), but it’s not necessarily up for grabs,” Reisman says. “And it’s a lot of money. Don’t forget the royalties coming in (from Houston’s music). That estate is never going to end.” Neither could the potential litigation arising from this case of mother-daughter tragedy, he says.
SOURCE: Maria Puente