We frequently write about the numerous benefits traditionally associated with proactive estate planning. If you and your attorney work through your wishes and concerns in advance of your death, your loved ones will likely have far fewer reasons to dispute elements of your estate. However, even conscientious estate planning does not always result in a dispute-free future.
For example, beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams drafted an estate plan while he was still alive. He likely hoped that in doing so, he would be able to provide for his widow and his children. He also likely hoped that in doing so he would be able to spare them the stresses and financial strain associated with an estate planning dispute.
However, the proactive estate planning approach that Williams embraced did not end up sparing his loved ones the need to contest and question certain aspects of his estate. At present, his widow and his children are disputing certain personal items and financial matters related to the maintenance of one of the late actor’s homes. A judge recently opted to give the family more time to resolve their differences, despite the fact that they have already taken several months to work through their issues.
This situation highlights the fact that estate-related disputes may not be easy to resolve. Estate-related matters tend to be very personal and very emotional as they involve the memory of a recently deceased loved one. It is therefore important to be as proactive as possible when estate planning in order to make your wishes clearly known and your loved ones’ potential concerns clearly addressed.
Source: USA Today, “Robin Williams’ family still fighting over estate,” Associated Press, June 1, 2015