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Whitney Houston's Family Is Fighting - Is Estate Money To Blame?

Whitney Houston’s family has been through its share of disagreements since the pop diva passed away on February 11, 2012.  Early on, there was trouble at the funeral, sparking concerns of a feud with Bobby Brown.  Recently, however, the trouble has centered around Nick Gordon.  Gordon was raised and treated like a son by Whitney Houston, from the time he was 12 years old. Whitney-houston-bobbi-kristina-brown-148x300

Rather than looking at Whitney Houston's Daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, as a sister, Gordon (now age 24) and Bobbi Kristina (who just turned 21) have recently gotten married.  The tabloids are having fun with that relationship!  Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston, reportedly called the relationship “incestuous” when they were dating.  Now that they are actually married, TMZ says Cissy was furious, but she hasn’t spoken publicly about it since then.

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Learn From Celebrity Estate Planning Mistakes

As two lawyers who have written about celebrity estates for years and hosted the national television special Trial and Heirs: Protect Your Family Fortune! on PBS affiliates, we’ve noticed that stars often make the same big mistakes as people with very modest assets. It’s just the dollar amounts that differ.   Amy_Winehouse_in_2007

Learn from their goofs and avoid repeating them yourself. That way, you’ll protect your loved ones and be sure your inheritance wishes are carried out.

These are the top four estate-planning mistakes made by celebs — errors you’ll want to avoid:

 1. No will. Most of us naturally want to be sure our assets are distributed properly after we pass away, so it’s surprising that almost two-thirds of adults don’t even have simple wills. Whether you have millions of dollars or just a modest estate, estate planning is critical — starting with a will.

Unfortunately for the family of Amy Winehouse, the singer didn’t have a will when she unexpectedly passed away at age 27, leaving behind a $6.7 million estate.

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Whitney Houston's Funeral Suggests Trouble Brewing For Her Estate

Whitney Houston’s funeral this weekend provided the first public glimpse of what may be trouble involving her estate.  Her ex-husband, Bobby Brown, was invited to the funeral, after reports surfaced that some family members didn’t want him there. He didn’t last long.  Brown’s entourage wasn’t allowed to sit with him at the funeral.  Brown wasn’t happy and left, visibly upset.  Whitney_Houston_Welcome 

Bobby Brown issued a statement after the funeral, saying he and his group were asked to relocate three times, and rather than making a scene, he chose to pay his respects quickly and leave.

TMZ reported the day before the funeral that Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston, and other family members had been trying to keep Brown away from Bobbi Kristina, Whitney’s daughter with Brown.  They were said to be worried that Brown would try to use Bobbi Kristina to make a play for some of Whitney’s money.

Brown’s statement confirmed some of this.  He said that security prevented him from seeing his daughter at the funeral.  Is money the reason why? Brown tried to get some of Whitney’s money through a court proceeding in 2007, just after their divorce judgment was entered, but he failed.

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Whitney Houston Denies She's Broke; Wins Lawsuit Vs. Step-Mom

Celebrity gossip websites ran a story last week claiming that Whitney Houston is “broke as a joke.”  They even quoted an unnamed (of course) source claiming that Whitney would be homeless if not for the generosity of friends. She called someone to ask for $100, the story goes.  If true, that would be quite a fall from financial grace for the singer who signed a $100 million record deal in 2001.  Whitney_Houston_Didnt_We_Almost

Whitney’s camp quickly denied the rumors and says they are “false and ridiculous“.  Her rep points out that she just made a movie called Sparkle, with Jordin Sparks, and she didn’t work for free.

If Whitney is in need of money, she has another source she can pursue.  Don’t be surprised to see Whitney Houston foreclose on her step-mother’s home soon.

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National Television Show Will Help Protect Family Fortunes

After months and months of preparation, this weekend we taped our television show, Trial & Heirs: Protect Your Family Fortune!  Our show will premiere in Michigan on August 9th at 8 p.m. EST and air on PBS affiliates around the country in November and December.  PBS will also stream the broadcast online for the premiere, through UStream.tv, so that everyone would have an opportunity to view the show in August.   Danielle-Andy-film-their-national-TV-special-300x225

The taping included our show with a live studio audience (they were wonderful!), DVD extras from the two of us, and an interview with Ray Charles, Jr.

Ray shared some touching stories about his famous father as well as the private pain that his father’s estate has caused his family.  Ray’s full interview, including some never-before-told stories, will be available as one of the DVD extras.

We share some behind-the-scenes pictures from our production on our Trial & Heirs Facebook page.  If you’re not already a member of our Facebook page, make sure to “like” it so that you receive the latest from us!

Andy and Danielle with Ray Charles, Jr. Our television special is based on our book, Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! In the show, we use high-profile celebrity stories, like Sonny Bono, Marlon Brando, Princess Diana, Michael Jackson and James Brown, to educate people about wills, trusts and estate planning. The TV special will also help raise money to support the wonderful cause of public television, which needs pledge donations now more than ever with federal funding cuts.

With different pledge amounts, viewers can receive the DVD of the show with DVD extras from us as well as our full interview with Ray; a copy of our book, Trial & Heirs; and our brand new Estate Planning Organizer to help you, your family, and your clients.

We hope that all of you join us for the exciting premiere of Trial & Heirs:  Protect Your Family Fortune! on WTVS Channel 56 and UStream.tv, August 9th at 8pm EST!

By Danielle and Andy Mayoras, co-authors of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, husband-and-wife legacy expert attorneys, and hosts of the national TV special, Trial & Heirs:  Protect Your Family Fortune! The charismatic duo has appeared on the Rachael Ray Show, Forbes, ABC’s Live Well Network, and FOX and NBC affiliates.  They’ve lent their expertise and analysis to hundreds of media sources, including The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, Kiplinger, and The Washington Post, among many others.  Danielle and Andy delight audiences nationwide with highly entertaining and informative presentations, dishing the dirt on celebrity estate battles while dispensing important legal information to help people avoid family fights among their heirs.

For the latest celebrity and high-profile cases, with tips to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your clients, subscribe to The Trial and Heirs Update at www.TrialandHeirs.com.

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Whitney Houston's Battle vs. Step-Mom Rages On Through Appeal

While Whitney Houston was reportedly just admitted to rehab, she has one other concern that she still has to face — her no-holds-barred court fight with her late father’s widow.  Whitney Houston Trial & Heirs

In Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, Andy and Danielle Mayoras discuss the lawsuit involving Whitney Houston against Barbara Houston over a one million dollar life insurance policy. 

You can read about Whitney’s battle against her “step-mother”, including how Whitney used the public lawsuit to attack Barbara Houston and her relationship with Whitney’s father, in this excerpt from Trial & Heirs that was featured on The Huffington Post.

The case has now moved on to the Court of Appeals after Whitney scored a big victory in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey late in 2010. The Judge ruled in her favor, even though he first discussed multiple letters sent between various of Whitney Houston’s accountants and attorneys; several letters validated Barbara Houston’s claim.

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Trial & Heirs' Whitney Houston story featured on Huffington Post

The Huffington Post recently ran this article featuring an excerpt from Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights!


Whitney Houston is no stranger to family fights in court. In 2002, the entertainment company owned by her father, John Houston, sued her. John Houston said publicly that his company was owed $100 million and he expected his daughter to repay it. He died in February of 2003, and the case was dismissed not long thereafter.  Reportedly, Whitney Houston did not attend her father’s funeral service or burial. 

John’s wife, Barbara, filed her own lawsuit against Whitney in December of 2008. Whitney was the sole beneficiary of a $1 million life insurance policy of her late father.

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