Robin Williams’ estate at the centre of an inheritance dispute

Published 15 Feb 2015

An inheritance dispute has arisen between the widow and children of late actor Robin Williams.

The Mrs Doubtfire star’s wife, Susan Schneider, was reportedly upset that his children removed items from the couple’s home without permission.

Schneider filed papers with San Francisco’s superior court in an effort to prevent his three kids from two previous marriages – Zachary, Zelda and Cody – from having access to possessions he set aside for them in his will.

In a statement prepared by their lawyers, his offspring described it as adding “insult to injury” at an already difficult time.

“The Williams children are heartbroken that [the] petitioner, Mr Williams’s wife of less than three years, has acted against his wishes by challenging the plans he so carefully made for his estate,” court documents stated.

Contesting a will

According to Schneider, who married Williams in 2011, her husband had wanted her to remain in their shared home. She claimed his children should therefore not have access to belongings held there.

These include memorabilia and awards from his career, including a 1998 Oscar for the film Good Will Hunting. Zachary, Zelda and Cody have argued that a trust outlined in the will did not highlight any limitations on where the items were located.

Williams, who committed suicide in August 2014, left his US$50 million estate to his three children, according to a copy of his will obtained by the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper.

Susan was allegedly provided for under a prenuptial agreement that the couple signed before they married. Williams had previously been divorced twice, costing him approximately $30 million.

However, commenting on the challenging of the will, Schneider’s attorney James Wagstaffe said the disagreement is “not ugly”.

“I would not say this is anticipated to be a highly contested proceeding,” he explained.

Challenging a will in NSW

The decision to contest a will is difficult, particularly when you are still grieving over the loss of a loved one.

Nonetheless, if the deceased has made choices regarding their estate that seem unfair or do not adequately provide for you or other close family members, there may be no other option.

Contacting a contesting wills lawyer in NSW is an important first step in the process for making a claim against an estate, but it’s crucial to pick a legal firm with the knowledge and experience to expertly handle your case.

This ensures there is limited risk and stress on your part at a challenging time for the whole family.

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