A year after his death, Robin Williams’ third wife, Susan, and his kids Zachary (from his first marriage), Zelda and Cody (both from his second marriage), are still at war with one another. The issues at stake are: division of his personal property, which was not explicitly dealt with in his trust, and; how much money is needed to maintain the residence that Susan shared with Williams, for which, per Williams’ estate planning documents, his estate is to provide sufficient funds to maintain during Susan’s life.
A will or trust can not only fail to carry out the decedent’s intent, it can actually frustrate the intended estate distribution, and cost the decedent’s loved ones significant time and money, not to mention anguish.
Particularly in an era of online-assisted do-it-yourself legal work, poorly made self-made and cookie cutter wills and trusts abound.
Probate litigation is sometimes necessary to protect the rights of beneficiaries or heirs, potentially due to an unclear or poorly drafted will or due to a dispute among family members. Probate law in California can be complicated and these matters may easily become hotly contested due to emotionally charged issues and legal complexities.
As Trustee of a trust, you have a duty to administer the trust pursuant to both the trust provisions, and relevant law.
When a trustmaker passes away, several items are put in motion. While administering a trust estate is significantly easier than administering a probate estate, there are still several steps that must be followed, and laws that must be adhered to.
Your brother submitted a will to the probate court, in which he receives the vast majority of your late widower father’s estate. Based on conversations with your father, you know he had a will in which everything was split equally between his three children.
You may be familiar with the term, “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.” It refers to the notion that a wealthy estate built up by one generation will have been lost by the third generation. Its English translation is often attributed to American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, but the adage is neither unique to English, nor modern.