Home > estate planning > Robin Williams’ Estate: Dispute between Widow and Children.

Robin Williams’ Estate: Dispute between Widow and Children.

The ABAJournal reported a story today: Who gets items from Robin Williams estate? Court has to decide between his widow and his children you can check that story out here

From all appearance, it looks like Robin Williams went through his attorney and put together a well thought out estate plan for the benefit of his wife and his children.

What the fight is about…

The dispute is over certain of Robin Williams’ personal belongings.

According to the article, Robin Williams’ children’s Trust gives them  “Williams’ memorabilia, awards and other relics

Robin Williams’ widow claims these items are located in her marital home and therefore belong to her.

It appears from the article there is a bit of “mudslinging” on both sides. Not a good sign for an early resolution to this dispute.

A Lawyer’s Role…

Lawyers look at scenarios from a liability standpoint. We are anticipating the worst case scenario (and other conceivable pitfalls) and how to avoid that worst case scenario.

Usually, things turn out the way you expect. A business contract is followed by both parties… a Trust Plan is administered according to the creator’s intentions.

Worst Case.

Worst case scenario  (or something like it) is what appears to have happened here. Even though Robin Williams created a thought out trust plan for his family members, his plan wasn’t enough to keep the bickering family members out of court.

Lessons to be gleaned.

After reviewing the article, and looking back at the experiences I have witnessed first hand – a few observations:

1. Blended Family? Estate Planning red flags.

Communication is key.  Even more so when your current spouse and you have different children. While still alive and healthy, members of a blended family  should communicate wishes in and open and honest setting. To the best that you can, leave no room for misinterpretation. 

2. Estate Litigation is costly because oftentimes money is not the motivating factor.

A Lawsuit is very rarely a cost-effective solution to any dispute. In business disputes, it is much easier to convince your client to make a “business decision” and not throw good money after bad.

Not quite so in estate litigation.

The hard part about dealing with these disputes is that there often times is not a “business decision” to be made.  Settlement decisions by and large are made on emotion and negative perception of the intent of the opposing family member.

Case in point – Robin Williams’ Estate. Read the comments being made, and the actual items being fought over.

Questions? Comments?

email: Jeshua@dwlawpc.com


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