Menu ${site.data.firmName}${SEMFirmNameAlt}${site.data.firmName}${SEMFirmNameAlt}
Practice Areas
Let's Get Started!

Robin Williams’ estate plan failed to cover important issues

The fact that the heirs of the late Robin Williams are now battling over their inheritances in court is no laughing matter. As the Hartford Courant pointed out in a recent article, while Williams’ estate plan was tax efficient, it may have been lacking in other areas.

For example, Williams’ widow and his three children from his first two marriages are reportedly fighting over who should be entitled to what when it comes to Williams’ personal property. Sadly, if Williams’ estate plan would have provided more details, the conflicts may have been avoided. 

As one estate planning attorney told the Courant, it pays to be very specific when there is personal property that has a lot of sentimental or financial value such as photographs, sports memorabilia, antique collections, etc.

The good news is that this can be as simple as including a letter with the last will and testament explaining who should get what in layman’s terms.

Additionally, the Courant explained that setting intentions with heirs is also a good way of avoiding future conflict. As we discussed in a previous post on our blog, heirs often end up more satisfied with -- and less likely to fight over -- their inheritances when they knew what was coming.

Surprises about inheritances after a loved one dies -- especially when the loved one died unexpectedly -- tend to set off reactions fueled by emotions, which could be what is motivating Williams’ heirs.

Finally, in cases of blended families, there are certain estate planning levers that can be pulled to reduce conflict and make sure that everyone is provided for.

For example, the Courant pointed out that a Qualified Terminable Interest Property Trust, or QTIP trust, can be used to provide for the surviving spouse as long as her or she is living, and then make sure that assets ultimately transfer to the decedent’s children.

As you can see, while Robin Williams took the time to create a tax-efficient estate plan, there were clearly some important factors that were left out, including details regarding how his personal property should be divided, setting intentions with loved ones and taking advantage of estate planning levers for blended families.

Make sure that your estate plan covers all of you and your family’s needs by working with an experienced estate planning lawyer.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Serving businesses and individuals throughout Massachusetts

Waltham Office
375 Totten Pond Road
Suite 200
Waltham, MA 02451

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Waltham Law Office Map

Braintree Office
25 Braintree Hill Office Park
Suite 406
Braintree, MA 02184

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Phone: 617-523-1555
Braintree Law Office Map

Cranston Office
200 Midway Road
Suite 159
Cranston, RI 02920

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Cranston Law Office Map

Hyannis Office
1330 Phinney’s Lane
Hyannis, MA 02601

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Hyannis Law Office Map

Norwood Office
520 Providence Highway
Suite 10
Norwood, MA 02062

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Norwood Law Office Map

Westborough Office
276 Turnpike Road
Suite 228
Westborough, MA 01581

Westborough Law Office Map

Woburn Office
444 Washington Street
Suite 203
Woburn, MA 01801

Woburn Law Office Map