People around the world were shocked and saddened after hearing of the tragic death of iconic comedian Robin Williams. His passing was certainly upsetting and since then, reports of his lengthy struggle with depression have surfaced, shining a new light on the man who was so influential in the comedy, television and movie industries.
Despite the publicity surrounding Williams’ struggles with addiction and mental health, one area that has been kept relatively private is his estate plan. Unlike many other wealthy and successful celebrities, Williams reportedly took significant steps to protect his estate and his family.
According to news sources, Williams had set up at least one trust before his death to hold his real estate assets. He also apparently had a second trust set up for his three children. This second trust held an unknown sum of money that is evidently going to be distributed among his children in periodic payments.
By having a trust or trusts set up, Williams has effectively shielded his family and his estate from the publicity and potential bitterness that can come with the probate process. While it can be more complicated to set up and fund a trust than it is to draw up a will, trusts can serve as a way to keep the information private and to set restrictions on how and when the money in a trust will be paid out.
As upsetting as the news about Williams’ death was for his fans, friends and family, the fact that he went to great lengths to protect and plan for those closest to him might be of comfort to them. Losing a loved can already be hard enough without also having to deal with courtrooms, legal disputes and publicity; a person can do a great service to his or her family by speaking with an attorney and making an effective estate plan.
Source: Forbes, “What’s Next For Robin Williams’ Family And Estate?” Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Aug. 12, 2014