What can we learn from Robin Williams’ estate plan?

Robin Williams’ family legal feud has been in the headlines this past month. It is a sad and cautionary tale.

 

After Robin Williams’ tragic suicide in August 2014, generic cialis try the family is at odds in a very public family battle over his estate.

 

Robin Williams’ estate plan was set forth in a trust.  Typically, cialis a trust provide a private mechanism for handling one’s final affairs.  Unfortunately, viagra that is not the case for the Williams’ family.  Robin Williams’ wife, Susan Williams, has asked the court for clarification.  The marriage is less than three years old.   According to media reports, the dispute centers on personal property. Robin Williams’ widow was provided a life estate in a home in Tiburon, California. Robin Williams and Susan Williams resided in the house in Tiburon, California. Robin Williams also owned a house in Napa, California.  Robin Williams’ three children from prior marriages were left personal property, including jewelry, clothing, memorabilia and awards from the entertainment industry.  Susan Williams is asking the court to exclude the contents of the Tiburon house from the jewelry, clothing, memorabilia and awards from the entertainment industry left to the children.  It has also been alleged that Susan Williams is seeking clarification as to whether Robin Williams’ watch collection is included in the category of jewelry. Susan Williams alleges that the watches were viewed as a prized “collection,” rather than merely as jewelry.

 

Generally, a court will find that specific language controls over general language.  That means that the children most likely will receive the jewelry.

 

The court, in deciding whether the watch collection is jewelry, most likely, will consult a dictionary.  If a watch is defined as a timepiece typically worn on one’s wrist and jewelry is defined as a decorative object that people wear on their body, the watch collection is jewelry.

 

All parties to the dispute (the widow and the three children) most likely have sufficient assets to fund the cost of the attorneys battling in the court. The cost of the challenge mean that attorney fees will run in the tens of thousands of dollars. The average person can’t afford such a high cost.

 

It has also been reported that the trustee has not been able to conduct a complete inventory of the items in the Tiburon house.

 

If your will or trust was drafted by an attorney, you should have had the opportunity to decide if the will or trust referenced a list of personal tangible property. Such a list provides an opportunity to leave items to a named individual.

 

A will or trust can also specify that things are divided based on some rotational basis. This is often referred to as “coffee table probate.”

 

Thank goodness, the children received both the clothing and entertainment memorabilia, or the parties would be arguing which category the iconic suspenders from Mork & Mindy fit into.

 

What lessons can be drawn from this public saga?

 

The trust should have required mediation before anyone could file a pleading in court.   Moreover, the trust should have clearly stated how the mediator was chosen and the penalties for failure to resort to mediation.

 

Never underestimate greed.

 

An estate plan must be drafted with specificity, clarity and precision.

 

Nanu nanu.

 

If you have any questions regarding a will or trust, Dean Law Office can assist you. Call Margaret Dean at 816-753-3100.

That’s Not How It Works

One of Esurance’s latest commercials features an older woman named Beatrice in her living room with a couple of friends. Beatrice is taping, sildenafil prostate or “posting” pictures to her living room wall in an attempt to save time and not have to log onto Facebook to post the pictures. As she is telling her friends about her “posts” to her “wall,” one astute friend, realizing this is not Facebook, but a living room wall, cries, “That’s not how it works, that’s not how any of this works!”

All too often in the legal field, there are times where clients and attorneys have no choice but to shout, “That’s not how it works!” Like the woman from the commercial, it is often frustrating to see rules not being abided by. Insurance companies are often guilty of this. For instance, if you have a workers compensation claim, an insurance company can select your treating physician. However, they cannot later have a physician who has never seen or examined you second guess the treating physician’s opinion, attempting to deny treatment. That’s not how it works. This is cause for a preliminary hearing. This is why it is important to hire an experienced attorney who can fight for your interests during these attempts by the insurance company to deny treatment.

If you need to speak with an attorney regarding a possible workers compensation claim, call Dean Law Office today at 816-753-3100, or email us at AttorneyA@aol.com. We look forward to assisting you with your matter.

Why Do I Need A Probate Attorney?

All too often, viagra canada check the passing of a loved one is not only a sad time, cialis canada but also a stressful one. Some issues need to be handled immediately, such as notifying extended family, arranging funeral plans, or dealing with business assets. Other decisions however, should not be rushed, and may even require the assistance of professionals. There are many issues dealing with a decedent’s estate that involve deadlines imposed by the law. For instance, the filing of a Will and the opening of a probate estate have deadlines under the law. Having an attorney to assist with the probate process will alleviate stress, keep you within the filing deadlines, and ensure you appropriately carry out your loved one’s final wishes. Additionally, legally, you must be a licensed attorney to represent anyone other than yourself. When representing in a probate matter, you are representing an “estate” and thus, need an attorney to handle the matter. It is important to note that very few people can successfully navigate the preparation, documentation, filing and deadlines that are necessary for a proper probate estate.

If you need to speak with an attorney regarding estate planning or probate question, call Dean Law Office, LLC today at 816-753-3100, or email us at AttorneyA@aol.com. We look forward to assisting you with your matter.