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Legal disputes arise over Robin Williams' estate

Florida residents may be interested to learn that on March 30, a probate judge ordered attorneys to take eight weeks to sort out issues related to money and property awarded to his widow and three adult children. Attorneys for Williams' third wife say that the negotiations are amicable and that what she is asking for is a fraction of the overall estate.

Reports say that Williams' widow was asking for a tuxedo that he wore to their wedding in 2011 in addition to art and furniture that was allegedly removed from the home where he died without her permission. His children took to social media to say that they had not visited the home or taken any property from it. Additionally, there is an issue regarding an allowance to maintain the property where the late comedian's wife lives.

The children expressed regret that the matter had become public. Williams had established trusts for his children, which should have avoided probate and made distributing the estate a private endeavor. The judge in the case asked all parties to engage in informal talks with the possibility of working with a private mediator if those talks fail. All parties to the case were ordered back to court on June 1.

As part of a comprehensive estate plan, it may be worthwhile to create wills or trusts, which may make it possible to avoid probate. This may save money as well as keep internal family matters out of public view. Those who are interested in understanding their estate planning needs may wish to talk to an attorney. Legal counsel may be able to draft and store relevant documents, which could make it easier to settle an estate upon an individual's passing.

Source: Reuters, "Attorneys for Robin Williams's heirs spar in court over estate," Emmett Berg, March 30, 2015

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