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Family of Robin Williams settles estate battle

The death of an individual can bring stress and confusion into the lives of others. When a New Jersey resident passes away, his family and friends may initially pull together to support each other in the wake of the loss but may, with time, find themselves fighting over how to tie up the loose ends of the deceased's life. A situation similar to the one just described has been playing out for over a year and centers on the death of a talented and beloved American actor.

In August of 2014, Robin Williams took his life and left behind both a widow and three children from previous relationships. Williams was wealthy at the time of his death and left his then-wife a trust that she claimed promised her their home, the contents contained therein, as well as money to maintain the residence. However, Williams' children challenged his wife's assertions and stated that Williams did not intend to give his wife items that actually belonged to the kids.

The fight between Williams' wife and kids has endured for months, but just recently the parties were able to come to a resolution outside of the courtroom. Although his wife stated that she will keep the home she shared with her late husband, William's kids have not stated if they were able to secure the items of personal property that they desired to acquire from Williams' estate.

It is an unfortunate fact that battles like that which arose between Williams' wife and kids are not uncommon. Death can bring about fights over the distribution of assets out of one's estate as well as will contests about a decedent's intentions with respect to the allocation of his assets and possessions. However, one of the best ways to prevent an estate or will-based contest is to ensure that one's estate administration plan is detailed and clear. Estate planning attorneys can help interested parties bring clarity and confidence to their estate plans to prevent later challenges to their estates.

Source: The New York Times, "Robin Williams's Widow and Children Settle Dispute Over Estate," David Itzkoff, Oct. 4, 2015

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