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Robin Williams' family fights over personal effects provision in trusts

Posted on: March 30th, 2015
http://www.forbes.com/sites/trialandheirs/2015/02/03/robin-williams-widow-dishonors-his-trust-by-starting-court-battle/

As we talk to clients about estate planning, we spending a meaningful amount of time talking about how to deal with personal effects after death.  We encourage clients to proactively involve their children in the discussion about personal effects, suggesting that clients solicit from their children a list of personal effects each child desires to own after the clients' deaths.  Clients who implement our suggestion discover two things.  First, items of personal property exist that the clients had no idea were going to be a problem.  And second, items the clients thought were going to be problem aren't a problem because no child cares about the items. In the end, if there is going to be a dispute over an item, better that the clients decide which of several children receive the items.  If a child is going to be upset about not receiving an item of personal property, better the child be upset with the clients who are then dead and gone than to be upset with a sibling for "taking" the item.

Given how explicit Robin Williams was in his estate planning documents, one can only imagine the mess that would have existed if he'd had no estate planning documents in place.
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Winburn, Mano, Schrader & Shram, PLLC
The Centre at Ten Building
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