In March, representatives of the late Whitney Houston filed her Last Will and Testament with a court in the Atlanta area. The 19-page document does not appear to contain anything problematic or surprising and it doesn’t appear that there will be any lengthy probate battle. However, you can look at Ms. Houston’s Will as a tool to learn about your own Will and what options you have when you create it.
Issue 1: Your right to change.
Ms. Houston originally wrote her Will in 1993. She made changes to it in 2000 and 2004, namely by changing the people she wanted to serve as trustee and executor. Whenever you create a Will you retain the absolute right to change any and all of its terms at any point. As long as you remain mentally competent and make the changes in a legally recognized manner, you can change your Will for any reason or for no reason.
Issue 2: Your right to choose.
Ms. Houston decided to leave everything she owned to her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown. The 19-year-old will inherit her mother’s estate, though she will not do so immediately. Ms. Houston’s Will dictates that her estate will remain in a Trust, held for the benefit of her daughter, and will be distributed once Bobbi Kristina reaches the age of 21, 25 and 30. All of this is entirely legal. Ms. Houston’s creation of a testamentary Trust to distribute her property periodically is something you can choose to do.
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