Is settling an estate as easy as riding a bicycle?
If only settling an estate were as easy as riding a bicycle. In fact, unless skilled attorneys have worked carefully and diligently to tighten any loopholes, there may be complications in the process. Even with a will in place, there may be questions and conflicts among heirs regarding who is entitled to what. This is especially true, of course, when there are large amounts of money at stake.
Since the tragic death of Robin Williams by suicide in August of 2014, presumed to be the result of his ongoing problems with anxiety, depression, and a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, there has continued to be a legal dispute between his widow and his children over the possessions he left behind. His estate, worth millions of dollars, includes valuable artwork, books, jewelry and other items, notably a large bicycle collection.
Susan Schneider Williams, the comedian’s widow, has retained an attorney who recently requested that a San Francisco judge assist in the resolution of the issue. Both sides are attempting to resolve the dispute through mediation, but the lawyer for the Williams’ children, Zachary , Zelda and Cody, is arguing against an intervention by the court.
Robin Williams had designated trustees to make decisions regarding estate distribution after his death, but agreement still has not been reached. His widow’s argument is that the amount she is receiving from the Reserve Fund her husband left her is not enough to keep her in the home she shared with her deceased husband, something she feels sure he intended. According to her, valuables were removed from her home during the immediate aftermath of his death. This charge is vehemently denied by Robin Williams’ children who allege that, in her greed, their father’s widow, married to him for less than 3 years, has done major renovations to her house and is trying to deprive them of cherished objects he wanted them to have and remember him by.
As graphically illustrated by this painful case, protecting assets after one’s death can be a great deal more complicated than one expects. If you have any questions or concerns about estate planning or asset protection, please contact OC Wills & Trust Attorneys and speak to one of our knowledgeable lawyers. We serve clients in Irvine, California and throughout Orange County and can be reached at 949.347.5256.