Robin Williams' Estate - Even Best Laid Plans

In September of last year we mentioned that Robin Williams had set up a revocable trust for his estate to pass on his estate free of probate while maintaining the family's privacy of how it is distributed. Well, even the best laid plans....Currently there is turmoil over the estate, with the Williams' widow, Susan Schneider Williams trying to negotiate more money from the estate. Under contention is the value of Williams' Tiburon, Calif., property, where he wanted his wife to live after his death. She will never own the property, which will later be inherited by his children.

There is a difference in opinion between Schneider Williams and Cody, Zelda and Zachary Williams, Robin's children as to how the calculated value of the property under dispute was made. The children say they already have documentation that shows how it was calculated and that Schneider Williams is "erroneously asserted to the media" and in documents that they are receiving a majority of assets in the estate. The children say this is not the truth and want the current setup of the estate to stand as is. "In fact, about half of the trust's net assets will be placed in Susan's trust for her benefit for her lifetime, while at her death, her two children and the three Williams children will share the remainder of those assets, if any, one-fifth each," they say in the documents.

Long story short, drafting of trusts of any kind will come back to how well they are written. At this point, there is no way to say which side of this debate will win. If the documents were drafted well, the children will probably get the decision and the trust will be left the way it is. However, if the drafting of the trust was not complete or left some gray areas, then the widow may have an opening to seek more of the trust and holdings. Time will tell as to how well this trust was written.

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