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Whitney Houston may have intended to adjust her assets to heirs

One of the biggest dilemmas for any parent leaving money or assets to their children is whether they will be responsible enough to handle their inheritance. There is no way to be sure that heirs will take care of their inheritance in the manner in which a New Jersey resident would like. As children grow, parents may be better able to determine how responsible an heir will be. If any doubts exist, estate planning documents can be changed or updated to keep an heir from squandering his or her inheritance.

According to the executors of Whitney Houston's estate, she had doubts about her daughter Bobbi Kristina's ability to handle the money that would be left to her beginning at age 21. However, Houston failed to make adjustments to her will to account for this fact. Therefore, unless the executors can provide compelling evidence to the court that the terms of the will should be set aside, she will inherit her mother's millions as outlined in the will.

At present, that means she recently received the first 10 percent of her mother's estate. Estimates put that amount at somewhere between $12 million and $20 million, which could be unmanageable even for the most responsible person. Bobbi Kristina's remaining family and the executors of Houston's estate are concerned that she will be taken advantage of and/or not be able to handle that much money. Only time will tell.

Some heirs do fail at managing their inheritances, but others could surprise everyone. New Jersey residents who are concerned about their heirs do have options. Trusts can be established to keep control of the money and assets with someone else; further, distributions would be made under certain circumstances as outlined by the grantor of the trust. The age at which someone inherits can also be specified in a will or trust. Each person's circumstances are different, so a thorough review of the situation and desires of the individual will help determine the best options.

Source: Forbes, "Whitney Houston's Family Is Fighting", Danielle and Andy Mayoras, March 31, 2014

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