In the aftermath of rapper Nipsey Hussle’s murder
this March, his family and ex-girlfriend have been locked in a bitter battle
for custody of one of his young children. And as this ugly drama plays out in
the courtroom and tabloids, it highlights the single-most costly
estate-planning mistake a parent can make.
Hussle, 34, was gunned down outside his South Los Angeles clothing store in March. The young rapper’s death was tragic on many levels. But perhaps most tragic is what’s happening to Hussle’s kids. Because Hussle never named legal guardians, the decision of who will raise his two children—daughter Emani, 10, and son Kross, 2—is now up to the courts. And this mistake is already having unfortunate consequences.
In addition to not naming guardians for his kids, Hussle also failed to create a will, which makes their guardianship even more contentious. Hussle’s estate is estimated to be worth $2 million, and under California law, in the absence of a will, that money is to be split equally between his two kids.
Given that both children are minors, however, they’re ineligible to access their inheritance until they reach the age of majority. This means that whomever ultimately wins guardianship of the children will likely gain control over their money as well.
Caught in the middle
Guardianship of Hussle’s son Kross, while still undecided, is currently not a source of conflict. Who will be awarded guardianship of Hussle’s daughter Emani, however, is very much in contention.
Since the day of the shooting, Hussle’s sister, Samantha Smith, has been caring for Emani. Following Hussle’s shooting, Smith petitioned the court to obtain Emani’s guardianship. But Emani’s mother, Tanisha Foster, an old girlfriend of Hussle’s, is also seeking guardianship.
The competing parties have filed court documents alleging criminal conduct and making other terrible accusations against each other. This war is taking its toll on the whole family with poor Emani caught in the middle.
Don’t leave your child’s life in a judge’s
As Hussle’s case so dramatically demonstrates, if you’re the parent of minor children, it’s imperative that you select and legally document long-term guardians for your kids. In fact, as a parent, naming guardians for your children should be your number-one planning priority.
The fact that
Hussle didn’t create a will is obviously another terrible mistake. But when it
comes to your children’s well-being, all the money in the world is meaningless
in comparison. For this reason, I’m going to focus solely on the consequences
resulting from Hussle’s failure to name legal guardians, and how easily this
whole ugly mess could have been avoided.
As we’re seeing with Hussle, leaving it up to the court to name guardians for your kids
can lead to conflict, as otherwise well-meaning family members fight one another over custody. This process is not only costly, but it can be terribly traumatizing for everyone involved, especially your kids.
Hussle’s case also shows how agonizingly slow this process often is. There have already been numerous court hearings related to Emani’s custody since her father’s death in March, and the saga remains ongoing. Indeed, these custody battles often drag on for years, making the lawyers wealthy, while your kids are stuck in the middle.
But the most
tragic consequence of Hussle’s failure to name legal guardians is that a judge
will be the one who decides who’s best suited to care for his kids.
Though we can’t be sure exactly who Hussle would have wanted to raise Emani, it’s almost certain he wouldn’t have wanted a total stranger to make that decision for him. Yet, because he didn’t take the time to document legal guardians, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
Child Protection Planning™
A Child Protection Plan™ is a comprehensive methodology to guide you step-by step through the process of legally documenting guardians for your kids for the short-term, long-term, and so much more. If you are a parent, you absolutely must put in place a Child Protection Plan™ for your minor children and/or children with special needs.
Get started immediately
Because naming legal guardians for your kids is so critical, you can’t afford to wait to get the process started.
You must name long-term guardians and grant the people you choose (along with backups) the legal authority to temporarily care for your children, until the long-term guardians can be located and granted custody by the court. And you should also confidentially exclude any person you know you’d never want to raise your kids.
A Child Protection Plan™ provides for the well-being and care of your kids no matter what happens to ensure your family never falls victim to the same tragic circumstances as Hussle’s.
Dedicated to empowering your family, building your wealth and defining your legacy,