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Comic legend’s family continues to argue over his estate plan

Florida residents know that a well thought-out estate plan is one way to prevent disagreements among family members after one has passed away. By having all of the testator’s wishes explicitly spelled out in the estate plan, there can be no room for family disputes when the executors and trustees seek to carry out the decedent’s final wishes. However, for one Hollywood comic legend, it appears that his family has still been unable to iron out some fundamental issues regarding his estate almost a year after his death.

The family of comic and actor Robin Williams, who committed suicide last August, is going back to court in order to settle some additional issues about his estate. It seems that William’s three children disagree with William’s third wife how much money she should get from his estate.

While the two sides have already agreed about how to split up William’s personal items, they haven’t yet agreed how much money William’s wife should receive to run the house that she and the comic lived in until his death. Williams left their house in Marin County, California, to his wife for the remainder of her life and made provision in his estate plan that she should be given enough money to maintain it.

Back in April representatives for the two parties met with a mediator and hammered out exactly how to divide up all of William’s personal effects, but couldn’t decide on much money his wife should get during her life. A judge in San Francisco has scheduled a meeting for the two parties early this month in the event that they are unable to reach an agreement.

Blended families present special challenges in estate planning. When the decedent seeks to provide for a surviving spouse as well as children from an earlier marriage, the potential for resentment is high. Making clear how much each set of beneficiaries will receive requires thoughtful drafting, but sometimes discussing one’s wishes with family members before death is the best way to avoid disputes.

Source:, “Robin Williams family at odds over his estate“, June 1, 2015

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