IM first broke the story in April, detailing how the timing of Bobbi’s death could impact the ultimate division of Whitney’s estate.
At stake is an estimated $12 million to $20 million and potentially tens of millions of dollars more annually, almost in perpetuity, from branding and licensing opportunities.
Whitney was in the same league as other mega artists like Elvis Presley, and her estate, like Elvis’s, will generate increasing revenue as her legacy is monetized.
Whitney died unexpectedly in Feb. 2012 on the eve of the Grammy Awards, but she had the foresight to leave a will. Although it goes on for 19 pages, there’s no doubt about who would inherit: She left everything to her daughter in a trust fund.
But here’s the catch; Bobbi’s death at 22 will alter the ultimate distribution of the money. That’s because the will stipulated that Bobbi could only inherit the money in stages at 21, 25 and 30 years of age.
When Bobbi turned 21 in March a year ago, she finally was eligible under the will to received one-tenth of her inheritance. By some estimates, it ranged from $1 million to $2 million.
Bobbi was in line to received a larger payout–one-sixth of her inheritance–when she turned 25. She would have received the remainder of the estate when she turned 30, according to the will.
If Bobbi remained alive past her 25th birthday, even if in an irreversible coma, she still would have received the money. But Whitney made other stipulations upon the possible death of her only child.
The singer’s immediate family, which includes Whitney’s mom, Cissy Houston, father John Houston and brothers Michael and Gary Houston were named as co-equal beneficiaries.
The will specifically excludes Whitney’s half-brother John Houston III and Bobbi’s half-brother, Nick Gordon. Whitney only provided for survivors who were “formally adopted” and Nick never was.
Although ex-husband Bobby Brown was cut out of Whitney’s will, he still stands to inherit the money that has already transferred to Bobbi Kristina.
A wild card is whether Bobbi had the foresight to prepare a will and whether she left any money to Gordon, whom she once claimed was her husband. A family lawyer, however, has said they never married.
Gordon is allegedly the focus of a murder investigation in the wake of Bobbi Kristina’s death.
Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest updates on Bobbi Kristina.
Footnote: A Feb. 6 story by low-flying gossip site radaronline claimed Whitney’s will contained a “secret provision” detailing how the money would be distributed. By law, wills can not contain “secret provisions.” The story is false.