More details of Robin Williams' 2014 suicide became available last week, when his widow Susan Williams revealed new and shocking details about his battle with Lewy body dementia, a brain disease that causes hallucinations and severe anxiety. This news brought the comedian’s death back into the spotlight. It also reminded us of the critical need for planning in case a spouse passes away without warning. The website thestreet.com posted an article, “Nasty Fight Over Robin Williams' $50 Million Fortune Shows Importance of Estate Planning,” which said that the backstory about the comedian’s struggles, including brain disease, only makes it more painful for his fans around the world.
However, money made this sad story even worse. Williams' death was so unexpected, his heirs had a tough time making sense of his will. His three kids from two previous marriages and his widow fought a bitter court battle to divide up the estimated $50 million estate. Williams' widow said the process was extremely painful. In addition to the money, there was a valuable collection of clothing, collectibles and memorabilia. High-priced lawyers went through his homes, safes, and papers trying to determine what Williams really intended. This was despite the fact that Williams had made a will and had signed a prenup with his wife.
We can all learn from this. You need a plan in place so that if your spouse were to die suddenly, the planning is in place; after all there is no way to plan for anyone’s sudden death. Thestreet.com’s article includes a 10-Point Checklist to help you to make some preparations ahead of time. Learn from Robin Williams and plan ahead thoroughly. Contact an estate planning attorney to help.
Reference: thestreet.com (November 11, 2015) “Nasty Fight Over Robin Williams' $50 Million Fortune Shows Importance of Estate Planning”