Chester 01244 405555

Grosvenor Court
Foregate Street Chester
Cheshire CH1 1HG
DX: 19990 Chester

Shrewsbury 01743 443 043

Lakeside House
Oxon Business Park
Shrewsbury SY3 5HJ
DX: 148563 Shrewsbury 14

Airport City, Manchester 0844 800 8346

Office 129
Manchester Business Park
3000 Aviator Way
Manchester M22 5TG

Send us a message
Our Offices

Attention to detail is key when preparing your Will

20th April, 2015

An estate dispute involving the widow and children of the late actor Robin Williams has finally spilled out into the public domain as the deadline set by the Court for the parties to reach an amicable agreement draws near.

Susan Williams, Robin Williams’ wife of three years, filed legal documents last December in which she claimed that his children Zak, Zelda and Cody had removed items from the shared property without her permission. The children in return have claimed that Mrs Williams is attempting to keep property that was meant for them.

The problem lies in the wording of Mr Williams’ Will which states that all ‘jewellery and memorabilia’ are to go to his children, which Susan is claiming excludes his watch collection and Oscar for Good Will Hunting.

The case illustrates the importance of attention to detail when preparing wills and considering the family structure and the issues that are most likely to lead to a dispute. Whilst it can be tempting to focus on the assets with the highest monetary value, it is often items with sentimental value that can cause family rifts if wishes are not clearly stated.

The problem could have been easily avoided by being more specific about which items were to go to whom or by nominating independent trustees to make the final decision as to how the personal belongings were to be divided. Unfortunately as neither of these options were adopted it appears likely that the Court will now have to act as arbiter which could be costly for all parties involved both financially and in terms of the public exposure that such a high profile case inevitably draws.

For further information or advice regarding estate planning or estate dispute resolution please contact James Wallace on 01244 405588 or email [email protected].

 

You might also be interested in...

Villiers v Villiers (2018) EWCA Civ 1120

3rd July, 2020

Brief Background Mr & Mrs Villier married in 1995, and lived in Scotland together until separation in 2012. Once separated, the wife moved to England, but the husband remained living in Scotland. In July 2013 the wife issued a divorce petition in England, but in October 2014 the husband lodged a writ for divorce in Scotland. As the... Read More »

Why claiming inheritance tax relief is not simply horseplay

1st July, 2020

Agricultural property relief from Inheritance Tax has long been a valuable relief for estates, which when available can... Read More »

Governments Calls For Responsible Contractual Behaviour – What Does This Mean For You?

29th June, 2020

In May 2020 the UK Government released additional guidance in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic, this time in... Read More »

Contact Us
Secured By miniOrange