There are few worse things than getting the courts involved with an estate because the heirs disagree on the interpretation of the will. Even though you will have already passed away by the time your estate reaches probate, you may not want to leave a legal headache behind for your loved ones.
It's because of this concern that many people here in Florida seek help from skilled estate planning attorneys, such as those found here at Frese Hansen. With a lawyers help, you can oftentimes avoid future litigation as well as make sure that all of your end-of-life wishes are followed exactly how you would have wanted.
But as the case of Robin Williams illustrates for our Florida readers, even the best laid estate plans may require the help of the courts. For those who have not been following the news, Williams' estate is currently being disputed by the actor's third wife and his three children who disagree on how the items listed in his will should be distributed.
According to the will, Williams' children were bequeathed "all of his 'clothing, jewelry, personal photos taken prior to his marriage to [Susan]... memorabilia and awards in the entertainment industry and the tangible personal property located in Napa.'" But Williams' wife has challenged the list of items, saying that some of the items should go to her instead of Williams' children. Williams' children, on the other hand, disagree with her interpretation of the will and instead feel that she is "adding insult to a terrible injury."
If you're one of our more frequent readers, then you've heard us say this before: make sure you are clear and concise in your will. Leave no room for interpretation. Because as this case shows, disputes regarding wills can occur. They can also lead to probate litigation after death, especially if you're not careful in life.
Source: USA Today, "Robin Williams' wife, kids fight over estate," Ann Oldenburg, Feb. 3, 2015