The Robin Williams Estate Dispute May be Resolved Out of Court
I initially wrote a comment on the Robin Williams estate dispute on March 14, 2015. Robin Williams committed suicide on August 11, 2014. He left his family a vast estate valued at an estimated $50 million dollars. A claim was filed in a San Fransisco Court by Susan Williams (his widow), alleging that Robin Williams’ children from his first marriage removed among other items, jewelry, watches, and other memorabilia from one of the family homes shortly after the actor’s death. The full story can be found here.
Given the size of the estate and the presumably vast financial resources of the parties involved, this scenario had the potential to become a bitter, expensive, and protracted battle. Furthermore, various sources have reported that the items that need to be sorted out number over 1,200. It is not hard to imagine how expensive it would be to resolve this dispute in Court if the parties are rigid and entrenched in their positions. Any hostility at this stage may increase the time and costs associated with resolving this dispute exponentially.
The latest developments are encouraging. It was reported on March 30, 2015 that the parties decided to attempt to settle the matter out of Court via mediation. Estate mediation is an excellent option to resolve any estate dispute, especially one involving a famous person. The parties will be able to discuss the matters openly in a confidential setting with the intent to resolve the dispute. If settlement is reached, the terms of settlement will likely remain confidential among the parties involved. The privacy of the individuals involved will be protected through the mediation process. This is especially important given that the parties have stated through their lawyers that the dispute has taken an emotional toll on them. The added media pressure associated with a protracted Court battle would have taken an even greater emotional toll.
It has been my experience as an estate litigation lawyer that estate mediation saves the parties involved from a lot of emotional harm. The parties may be better off dealing with the loss of their family member, rather than battling over the estate.
The Judge gave the parties until June 1, 2015 to resolve the Robin Williams estate dispute out of Court. It seems like the Robin Williams estate dispute may have a cost-efficient and timely resolution.
For more news on the Robin Williams estate dispute click here.