by Amanda Brown
On the morning of Saturday January 31, 2015 Bobbi Kristina Brown was found face down and unresponsive in the bathtub of her home in Atlanta, Georgia. After being rushed to the hospital and placed in a medically induced coma, Bobbi Kristina, remains on life support in the ICU at Emory Hospital. Not much else has been released to the public.
There are so many questions about what happened to this young woman, most importantly, what is the future of her health, and what will happen to her famous estate. As the third anniversary of Whitney Houston’s death just passed, and the world waits to see what will happen next, let’s review the most important people in this matter.
Bobbi Kristina Brown was born on March 4, 1993, in Livingston, New Jersey to popular music entertainers Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown. Like her parents, she is also an actress, and aspiring singer. Her mother Whitney Houston died on February 11, 2012 after being found unconscious in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Bobbi Kristina is her only child and the sole heir to her estate. Krissy, as she is known to family, is 21 years old and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her boyfriend/husband Nick Gordon.
POWER OF ATTORNEY
The beginning of 2014 Bobbi Kristina announced on social media that she and her live-in boyfriend Nick Gordon were happily married, but soon after Bobby Brown arrived at his daughter’s hospital bedside in Atlanta, Christopher Brown of Brown & Rosen LLC, legal representation for Bobby Brown, released the statement that “Bobbi Kristina is not and has never been married to Nick Gordon.” This wasn’t announced just because it’s good gossip, it means that Bobby is the next of kin and Krissy’s power of attorney. Doctors must consult him, and not Nick Gordon, about decisions related to her care while she is unable to speak for herself. This would likely be overwhelming for any parent, but it seems additionally taxing to have every move scrutinized by the public.
Emotional situations like these are the worst times to make decisions, especially for someone else. That is why Uncle Sam created living wills, the document that spells out your wishes about future medical treatment in case you are unable to provide consent. Unfortunately, The *U.S. Will Registry reports that less than 30% of all Americans are estimated to have a living will, and those numbers are even smaller for black Americans, and smaller for individuals under the age of 30, yet and still, this is the exact situation that the living wills were created to resolve. However in most cases, we find ourselves having these important conversations after it’s too late.
Many of us take for granted that anything can happen at any time. When I was 21, I was fresh out of college and felt invincible to any situation that needed a will, just because I was 21. The truth is, I could’ve had a car wreck or a sudden stroke. Any of us can fall victim to sickness, accidents, or foul play. Bobbi Kristina isn’t unique because she is young, or in a coma, or because she drowned. Unexpected things happen all of the time, and we must begin more conversations about how to better prepare our family and ourselves.
Bobbi Kristina Brown is unique because last March, on her 21st birthday, she received at least 2 million dollars from her mother’s estate. When Whitney Houston died, she left everything to Bobbi Kristina. Krissy is now a millionaire with no written directives for her relationships, personal care, or estate. It’s public knowledge that The Houston family doesn’t get along with Bobby Brown, and that Bobby and his daughter Krissy have a turbulent on again off again relationship.
One can assume that the families are disagreeing right now, or inevitable arguments are soon to come. Directives are designed to provide comfort and expectation for everyone involved, and give much needed clarity to family, friends, and care providers that may be faced with the question, what is best for you? That’s a tough question that shouldn’t be left for someone else’s interpretation.
In 1993, Whitney Houston created her Last Will & Testament that stated her daughter was sole heir to her estate and should receive the first installment of one tenth of the estate when she turns 21 years old, the second installment of one sixth when she turned 25, and then the remainder when she turned 30. The will also dictates that if Bobbi Kristina “doesn’t survive her,” the estate should be amicably divided among the remaining immediate family members, her mother Cissy, and older brothers Gary and Michael Houston, as they might agree, in shares as nearly equal as possible.” This will was created before Whitney divorced Bobby and before Nick Gordon lived with Whitney or Bobbi Kristina. There is speculation that if Krissy doesn’t recover, Nick may fight for the remaining money and to stay in the home they currently share together. Since Krissy doesn’t have similar directives like her mother, anyone who wants access to Whitney or Bobbi Kristina’s estate has a difficult court battle ahead of them.
What will happen remains to be seen, but one thing to we can take away from tragic stories like these is to get our own house in order – If something happened to you tomorrow, or your children tomorrow, it would be equally unexpected. So while you can, take this opportunity to plan and discuss the unexpected. Talk to your family about how you want to be cared for in case of emergency; who is the person you want to make decisions on your behalf. Talk to your family about how you plan to care for them, and make sure it is documented for assurance. The only thing that is guaranteed is that we don’t know what’s going to happen. So let’s plan accordingly.
Amanda Brown is the Director/Executive Producer of Black Heirlooms, a documentary wealth in America from and intergenerational perspective. www.facebook.com/BlackHeirlooms
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