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Robin Williams’ Estate Planning Provides Lessons for Floridians

If there is a silver lining to tragic celebrity deaths it is the massive amount of media attention which can shed light on issues we often choose to ignore. From Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s substance abuse to Robin Williams’ depression, public tragedies may allow us to recognize challenges faced by loved ones and jump start efforts to help.

Another lesson contained in the deaths of celebrities is the do’s and do not’s of estate planning. Since celebrities are notorious for having complex familial lives and significant assets, their estate planning can have major consequences on loved ones. Florida residents are wise to keep an eye on such things so they can tailor their plans to follow in the footsteps of a celebrity whose estate administration may be desirable to them.

For instance, before he died, the recently deceased Robin Williams transferred much of his assets into trusts. Williams was married three times and had three children from his first two marriages. As a result, his assets could have been exposed to claims by his current spouse as well as his children. It is not hard to imagine the potential for tension and family disputes.

Fortunately, it seems Williams set up trusts for the benefit of his kids as well as his current spouse. These trusts had the added benefit of privacy as their terms and values were not made public. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, on the other hand, had his estate pass through a will after dying of a drug overdose. As a result, within 30 days after his death the public knew where his assets were going and what they were.

Local Florida residents who have estate planning concerns can visit a Lee County estate planning attorney to devise their own plan that fits their own desires. Hopefully then they will not have to worry about their family’s financial standing after they pass.

Source: Florida Today, “Celebrity tragedies shine a bright light on estate planning,” Stephen Lacy, August 18, 2014

Source: Florida Today, “Celebrity tragedies shine a bright light on estate planning,” Stephen Lacy, August 18, 2014

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