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Heirs in dispute over spirit and letter of actor's wishes

The heirs of Robin Williams, including his widow and children from his first and second marriages, are in a dispute over what the actor really meant when he laid out his estate plan. Both sides have reportedly stated that they are attempting to follow both the spirit and letter of the actor's wishes, but some disagreements have developed, anyway.

One of the disagreements relates to the actor's personal belongings. The children believe he wanted them to have all of his personal belongings, but the widow believes some household items should be excluded from that. She specifically wanted to hold onto some items she was emotionally attached to, such as items of clothing and slippers belonging to the late actor.

Sentimental attachment may not be something considered in estate planning. For example, understanding that a grieving widow might want to keep her husband's old slippers is probably not a concern when dealing with how to slip up life insurance plans or real estate. This leaves the door open to disputes about property during estate administration and probate processes, though.

A second issue related to the Williams estate is that he left instructions that the widow be allowed to live the rest of her life in the home they shared together. To facilitate that, he created a trust that was to be funded with enough money to cover those expenses. Likely because such expenses are fluid, Williams didn't dictate the amount to be funded in the trust, which has lead to some disputes. The heirs are currently working with mediators and attorneys to value the property and decide how much money should be put into the trust.

Source: USA Today, "Robin Williams' family still fighting over estate," June 01, 2015

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