Bobby Brown has stayed fairly silent since his 21-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, was taken to the hospital on Saturday after she was found unresponsive in a bathtub.
But on Tuesday, the man once inseparable from Bobbi Kristina’s late mother, Whitney Houston, made a rare statement through his lawyer and used the opportunity to declare that despite “earlier reports” his daughter “is not and has never been married to Nick Gordon.” The statement surprised some, seeing as Bobbi Kristina declared she was “happily married” on Jan. 9, 2014, taking to social media to share a snap of her ring finger alongside Gordon’s, with both of them showing off wedding bands.
But Bobby Brown’s statement may be about more than clearing up rumors. A Georgia-based legal expert confirmed to FOX411 that whether or not Bobbi Kristina is married has some serious implications. For example, an official marriage could impact who makes Bobbi Kristina’s medical decisions, and it undeniably dictates who would receive her fortune in the event of her death.
Bruce Gaynes, a shareholder at Kitchens Kelley Gaynes, P.C., said many of the legal questions surrounding Bobbi Kristina can be easily answered if she has a will.
“She is probably wealthier than most 21 year olds. You would expect her to have a pretty significant estate. If she was well-advised, she would have a will," he told FOX411.
But that may not be the case.
“Most 21 year olds do not have a will, in which case [if she dies] everything would go to her spouse,” he said. “If she does not have a spouse, it would go to her parents.”
That means if Bobbi Kristina and Gordon never officially tied the knot, her reported $100 million estate, which she inherited from Houston, will go to her only living parent, Bobby Brown.
Whether or not Bobbi Kristina and Gordon actually married could also impact who has control over the potential decision to end life support, if that question is raised.
Georgia law allows people to have an advanced directive for health care, which is a legal document that designates who makes your medical decisions if you are unable to do so, among other things.
“If she has one, and again an awful lot of people don’t have them, then you designate someone to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself,” Gaynes explained. “If you are in a state of permanent unconsciousness, the advanced directive basically says ‘if you know what I wanted to have happen to me under these circumstances then you do what I would have wanted.’ …[The directive] specifically ask the question ‘if you are in a state of permanent unconsciousness, what directions do you give us?’”
If Bobbi Kristina doesn’t have an advanced directive for health care, her spouse would make medical decisions, said Professor Samuel A. Donaldson, of Georgia State College of Law, citing Georgia’s statute that deals with persons authorized to consent to surgical or medical treatment.
“Under Georgia law, where a patient has not named an agent under an advance directive for health care or a durable power of attorney for health care, the patient's spouse is authorized to make medical decisions on behalf of the patient,” Donaldson explained in an email. “Only in the absence or unavailability of a spouse would a parent have the authorization to make such decisions.”
Gaynes echoed that sentiment.
“The courts are more inclined to give the spouse the right to make decisions in the event that somebody cannot make medical decisions for themselves, followed at some point… by the adults thereafter,” he said.
Gaynes added, “That’s why people really ought to have wills and they ought to have advanced directives.”