When beloved film star Robin Williams passed away last year, people all over the world mourned the loss. But no one has felt his absence more deeply than his loved ones. Unfortunately, like many families, Williams’s family has spent much of their time compelled to fight over his estate instead of focusing on their grief. The lessons that Williams’s children and widow are learning may hopefully teach many Americans how to deal with their estate planning in ways that leave little room for in-fighting amongst loved ones.
Williams’s widow is not the mother of any of his children. She married the actor only a short time before his death. It is therefore understandable that Williams’s children wish to take keepsakes belonging to their father out of the homes that Williams and his widow share. However, it is also understandable that Williams’s widow does not want significant amounts of property removed from the home she still lives in.
A probate judge recently insisted that both parties and their attorneys take two months to work out the differences between them when it comes to both income and property. If the parties cannot work through their differences with the aid of a private mediator by June of this year, Williams’s estate will likely be debated in open court.
When you are contemplating your own estate plan, make sure to update it when loved ones join your family and circle of close friends. Otherwise, even the most consciously constructed will may be contested by those who have an interest in it.
Source: Reuters, “Attorneys for Robin Williams’s heirs spar in court over estate,” Emmet Berg, March 31, 2015