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Robin Williams’ Estate Plan – Did He Spare his Family a Lot of Dramas?

The recent death of comic genius Robin Williams from an apparent suicide sent shock waves throughout the entertainment world.

He was survived by his third wife, Susan Schneider, to whom he was married for three years, and three adult children from his previous two marriages, whose ages range from 22 to 31. Williams had commented he had to change his lifestyle because of how much he lost in his two divorces (reportedly $30 million). He had said he returned to TV because of “bills to pay”.

So how much then did Williams leave behind? He was reportedly worth around $130 million two years ago, however that figure seems well off since Williams later said that he was close to bankruptcy. Recent estimated have him pegged with net worth of around $50 million.

His life brought joy to millions of his fans across the world but as painful as his loss will be for his family it would appear from early reports at least Williams took care of business when it came to setting up a solid estate plan including at least two different trusts. Both of his valuable pieces of real estate are held in the name of the “Domus Dulcis Domus Holding Trust.” This is a latin phrase meaning “home sweet home.” He set up this Trust to own his real estate, appointing his Hollywood producer and entertainment promoter Stephen Tenenbaum and New York accountant Joel Faden as the trustees.

And it appears that was not the only trust. It was reported by TMZ that someone had leaked a copy of a different trust, which Robin Williams created in 2009. This was in the midst of Williams’ divorce from his second wife, Marsha Garces. The trust reportedly names Williams’ three children as beneficiaries, splitting their trust funds into three equal distributions for each of them, set to pay out when they reach ages 21, 25, and 30. Because this trust reportedly transfers the money to them whether Williams was alive or passed, this was likely established as part of his divorce rather than purely for estate planning.

Regardless of the motivation behind the trusts, it (and his real estate holding trust) show that Williams took advantage of sophisticated estate planning to protect his loved ones. Many celebrities, like Philip Seymour Hoffman, feared using any type of trust. Williams had at least two trusts, and it appears that the Domus Dulcis Domus Holding Trust was done, at least in part, to minimise estate taxes thus adding up to substantial savings for Williams’ family.

Williams’ was not only a comic genius with one Oscar, two Emmys and Four Golden Globe awards to attest too but also a genius with his Estate planning as well.

Not all people will need such sophisticated types of estate planning that Williams used but if you don’t have a Will or you haven’t reviewed your Will in a couple of years or you have a home made Will then now is the time to contact Attwood Marshall Lawyers to help your loved ones avoid the pain, cost and stress of not having an Estate Plan in place. Allow your family to focus on grieving and not have to worry about unnecessary complications with your Estate.

Please ring our department manager Donna Tolley on direct telephone 07 5506 8241 or freecall 1800 621 071 to take advantage of this offer or email Donna on dtolley@attwoodmarshall.com.au.

Please feel free to pass on our newsletter to any of your family, friends or colleagues who may wish to take advantage of this opportunity.

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Melissa Tucker

Melissa Tucker

  • Senior Associate
  • Wills and Estates
  • Direct line: (07) 5553 5803
  • Mobile: 0411 046 805