If your spouse was to die suddenly, would you be prepared, or would it kick off legal battles and lawsuits between family members?
When Susan Williams, the late Robin Williams’ widow, shared the sad details about his suffering from Lewy body dementia, a heartbreaking side of the comedian and actor’s life became even clearer. This is a terrible brain disease that causes severe anxiety and hallucinations. The news coverage reminds us that it is very important to do proper planning because we never know when we, or our spouse, may pass.
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 must prepare very carefully for the sudden death of your spouse, and do it today.
thestreet.com’s article includes a 10-Point Checklist to help you to make some preparations ahead of time.
While your family situation may not be as complicated as the Williams family is, planning should be done with a qualified attorney so that your loved ones are not forced into terrible feuds.
Reference: thestreet.com (November 11, 2015) “Nasty Fight Over Robin Williams' $50 Million Fortune Shows Importance of Estate Planning”