Whitney Houston’s mother Cissy is desperate to keep her granddaughter Bobbi Kristina away from her multi-million dollar inheritance, fearing it could send her down the same rabbit hole as the late singer. The estate is estimated at $20 million—a big enough fortune for Bobbi, 19, to fall victim to negative influences like her estranged father, Bobbi Brown, and reported boyfriend, Nick Gordon, who also happens to be her adopted brother. Last month, Gordon famously demolished the entire front of his Camaro with Bobbi in the passenger seat.
According to TMZ, Cissy and Whitney’s sister-in-law, Pat Houston, filed a request last week to modify Whitney’s will so Bobbi wouldn’t receive the estate in one fell swoop, but in a series of payments over time. It’s called the slowing the distribution schedule, or being put on allowance, and AARP Bulletin columnist Jane Bryant Quinn says it’s a brilliant idea.
“I think Grandma is right,” she told Business Insider in an email. “That’s a lot of money to pass to a young woman who might not be ready to manage it well. Bobbi will get it eventually, and will be free to use it or blow it, as she chooses. But for now, a prudent person would try to conserve the money until she grows up.”
Though we couldn’t find details on Houston’s distributions, most trusts “name a year, or series of years when the money can be distributed,” says Quinn. “For example, the will might say 25% of the money when the child is 21, 25% more when the child is 29, the remainder when the child is 30. Or, half at 21, half at 30.”
If Bobbi disagrees with Cissy, she can lawyer up and argue for full distribution. But if she’s content to let Cissy, the will’s trustee, alter the schedule, then Grandma must win the agreement of the court and show there’s a serious threat to Whitney’s estate.
“Trusts usually give the trustee the power to withhold payments if there’s reason to believe the money will be dissipated,” says Quinn. “The child might be in a guru’s thrall, heavily into drugs or booze, getting divorced, or shows no ability to handle money. The purpose is to protect the child from him/herself and ensure that money is around for her later years.”