Celebrity estates are rarely tidy. The sheer size and value of their assets, coupled with their numerous business interests and seemingly endless entitlements, make conflict almost inevitable. And just like any other family, celebrities’ survivors carry sentimental attachment to many of those assets and often aren’t willing to let them go.
Nevertheless, despite his careful attention to detail, Williams’ family has sparred in court on several occasions since his death in August 2014. As is too often the case, the devil is in the details. The “little things” — clothing, awards, sentimental knickknacks, etc. — have led to tremendous infighting and hassle for Williams’ bereaved loved ones.
In the latest dispute, Williams’ children are accusing his wife of attempting to hold onto portions of the estate that belong to them.
The late Oscar winner’s will included a trust that allocated much of his personal property to his children specifically. Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Susan Williams (the Oscar winner’s wife at the time of his passing) has asked a court to exclude the contents of Williams’ Tiburon home from that trust. The children say that her request contradicts the express terms of the trust and have formally asked the judge to dismiss it.
Undoubtedly, this is precisely the outcome that Robin Williams hoped to avoid when he took such painstaking efforts to create an effective estate plan. He and his team took so many of the right steps. Sadly, though, his documents didn’t address “the little things” with enough specificity to sidestep strife.
The Williams saga goes to show the importance of working with deeply experienced estate planning attorneys. While his assets were certainly more valuable than most Americans’, these kinds of disputes are not uncommon in everyday estate battles either.
If you’d like to make sure that your spouse and/or children aren’t divided from one another in the aftermath of your own death someday, our firm can help. Contact the experienced Phoenix estate planning attorneys at Kamper Estrada, LLP. We’re here to help.