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.
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.
These letters supported Barbara’s position that the one million dollar life insurance policy was supposed to be credited in her favor. Specifically, on August 23, 1990, Whitney had lent her father, John Houston, almost $750,000 so he could buy and remodel a home. Whitney held a private mortgage on the house and Barbara, as John’s widow and current owner of the house, alleges that the life insurance policy was intended to pay-off most of this mortgage. The life insurance was purchased on January 17, 1991.
Whitney and her lawyers argued that there was no written agreement of this arrangement, so Whitney was entitled to keep the one million dollars and foreclose on the mortgage too. Yet when Whitney was questioned under oath at a deposition in the case, she had very little knowledge of the insurance, and even denied ever having seen the mortgage documents that she had signed. Whitney scarcely remembered the life insurance, instead saying that her father had access to her money and could have drawn up the documents without her.
So why did the Judge grant summary judgment and rule in Whitney’s favor without holding a trial, even though there were multiple letters confirming that John Houston took out the life insurance policy for this very reason?
What are the chances that Barbara Houston’s arguments to the Court of Appeals, seeking a complete reversal of the Judge’s ruling, will prevail?
And what lesson can financial planners, life insurance agents, and everyone else learn from this to protect their clients, families and loved ones?
By Danielle and Andy Mayoras, co-authors of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, husband-and-wife legacy expert attorneys, and hosts of an upcoming national PBS special. The charismatic duo has appeared on the Rachael Ray Show, Forbes, ABC’s Live Well Network, WGN-TV and has lent their expertise and analysis to hundreds of media sources, including The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Kiplinger, and The Washington Post, among many others. As dynamic keynote speakers, 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. The couple spends their free time with their 8-year old son and seven-year old boy/girl twins.
For the latest celebrity and high-profile cases, with tips to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your clients, subscribe to The Legacy Update at www.TrialandHeirs.com