Robin Williams' estate plan: Good, but not great

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Robin Williams was a world-class comic who made millions and tried to take good financial care of his children, yet his estate planning talents may have not matched his comedic genius.

The Oscar-winning actor was found dead on August 11 in what police are calling an apparent suicide. The 63-year-old had battled substance abuse problems for decades and had recently checked into a rehab facility.

It is quite possible, experts say, that Williams did not leave a will—though that may not be a bad thing.

"It's very likely he used a revocable trust. A lot of our California clients" take that approach, said Daniel Rubin, a partner at Moses & Singer specializing in trusts and estates.

Rubin explained that because the probate process tends to be a lengthy one in California, wealthy people there—and elsewhere—often opt to create a revocable living trust instead of a will. They make themselves the trustee, and in the trust documents indicate how they want their assets distributed. Then when they die, the assets are allocated without any public review.

Williams did, however, leave money in a trust for his three children, according to TMZ, unlike Philip Seymour Hoffman or James Gandolfini.

Williams' publicist stated several days after the actor's death that that trust is no longer part of Willams' estate plan.

But experts say the kind of trust Williams had in effect at one point could have been structured much more effectively.


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