Lessons from Robin Williams' Estate
Post by: Lesley Hempfling
By all accounts it appeared as if Robin Williams had his affairs in order when he passed away this last August. He had trusts set up for his children and his new wife of just three years, specifying the property that would fund these various trusts. However, just days after his death, the blended family that Williams left behind began disagreeing over the disposition of his estate - mainly personal property items. One item of contention is whether Williams' watch collection is part of the "jewelry" that was devised to his children. While Williams' assets are worth a considerable amount of money, his story is not unique to the wealthy. If you have a blended family, the odds are even greater that there is going to be disagreement and that it will not always be about money. Thoughtful consideration should be given to the personal property that will pass at your death and how it will pass. Many Wills simply say, "all of my personal property to my beneficiaries set out below as they may agree..." I find that it is even difficult for families who have a history of cooperation to come to an agreement about such things when the time comes, much less those who have a long history of discord and disagreement. If you want to maintain the peace with your blended family after your death, be specific in disposing of your personal property and take the time to talk to your family about your wishes and perhaps why you are making the dispositions that you are making. Sometimes just understanding why things are being done goes a long way.
Contact our Austin Estate Planning office to learn more about creating Wills with blended families.