Whitney Houston's estate is asking the court to stop paying the late singer's 19-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown.
Relatives claim it's for her own good.
According to ABC News, the estate filed a petition in a Georgia court this week, alleging that the estate is trying to provide "security and protection" for Bobbi Kristina by limiting her access to the funds.
The trustees of Whitney Houston's estate claim they want to limit Bobbi Kristina's access to protect her from undue influence -- essentially, from being taken advantage of by others who want access to her wealth.
The document runs five pages and was filed by Cissy Houston (Whitney's mom) and Marion Houston (Whitney's sister-in-law). The trustees are trying to amend the trust set up by Whitney.
Here's a quick primer on how trusts function, to give you a better understanding of the story:
A trust, whether revocable or irrevocable, becomes irrevocable upon the death of the settlor (i.e. the person who established the trust).
The settlor then names a beneficiary (i.e., someone who will benefit from the trust) and trustees (i.e., those who will manage the trust).
A trustee's job is to make sure that the trust's provisions are followed. Thus, if Whitney Houston's trust creates a sub-trust allowing a certain amount of money to go to her daughter, the trustees' duties are to carry out the terms of the trust.
But the trustees also have a duty to preserve the trust's assets and to make sure that the trust's intent is carried out. If the intent of the trust was to protect Houston's daughter, and the trustees have reason to believe that the current provisions won't protect her, then they can try to amend the trust to fulfill its purposes.
But upon the death of the settlor, a trust cannot be amended that easily. The trustees have to take the trust and its proposed changes to court.
According to the court filing by Houston's estate, "Compliance with the provisions of the trust would defeat or substantially impair the accomplishment of the purposes of the trust."
So, there we have it, folks.
As for Bobbi Kristina, her lawyer could not be reached for comment by ABC News.
- Search Directory of New York Estate Planning Lawyers (FindLaw)
- Whitney Houston's Will Revealed: Bobbi Kristina Left Everything (FindLaw's New York Estate Planning News)
- Types of Trusts (FindLaw)