While you may think that having a will or trust is enough to settle family disputes over money and property once you have passed on, one really doesn’t have to look much further than the ongoing case of Robin William’s battling heirs to see how easily things can go wrong without proper planning.
Although Robin Williams gave the trustees of his estate the ability to use their own discretion as to the distribution of his assets, William’s wife and his adult children have been in disagreement as to what Williams would have actually wanted each of them to have. In December 2014, William’s wife filed a motion asking that contents of the house she shared with her husband be excluded from the items that Williams had left to his children that he had with other wives through his previous marriages. She also stated that some of the actor’s personal possession had been removed from the house without having her permission.
Meanwhile, William’s children are countering the motion, stating that she is trying to change the agreement of the trust and keep the children from inheriting the items that their father wanted them to have. They argue this includes photos taken before his marriage, watches and even clothing including a tuxedo that he had gotten married in.
While both parties are scheduled to appear in court on April 10, the judge presiding in the case has asked the lawyers for both sides to have the family meet prior to the hearing to see if there is the possibility of an amicable solution. The judge recommended that if needed, they should enlist a mediator to help with the negotiations prior to the hearing.
Individuals who are interested in estate planning may find it beneficial to discuss their concerns about their estate with a qualified attorney to help avoid potential problems later on.
Source: 9&10 News, “Attorney: Robin Williams’ wife wants his wedding tuxedo,” Sudhin Thanawala, accessed April. 03, 2015