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The world was saddened by the loss of Robin Williams to suicide on Monday, but the trusts he set up may continue to provide for his family after his passing.
The "Dead Poets Society" actor and renowned comedian is survived by his wife, two ex-spouses, and three adult children, ages 22 to 31. Forbes reports that Williams was worth close to $50 million at the time of his death, but this may not include the money he set aside in trust.
Here are three things Robin Williams fans should know about his trusts:
One trust set up by the "Mrs. Doubtfire" star in 2009 set aside money for Williams' three children -- Zachary, Zelda, and Cody -- far before his death. TMZ reports that Williams' trust planned to release each child's share of the money in fractional portions as they aged. The children would receive a one-third share at age 21, one-half at 25, and the remainder at 30. Only Zachary, 31, would have received the full share of his trust funds by the time of his father's death.
This sort of spendthrift trust allows a trust creator like Williams to ensure that his children were cared for without allowing them to squander their trust funds.
According to Forbes, the "What Dreams May Come" actor also created a separate trust to hold his real estate assets, including his multimillion-dollar Napa Valley mansion and a waterfront home in Tiburon, across the bay from San Francisco. The Domus Dulcis Domus Holding Trust (meaning "Home Sweet Home" in Latin) has Hollywood producer Stephen Tenenbaum and New York accountant Joel Faden as trustees.
Trusts like these could potentially have dozens of trustees, but their purpose is to ensure that property is held for the benefit of its trustees: Williams and his family. Since these properties were held in trust, they need not go through probate after Williams' death, since he doesn't technically own them.
Any assets held in these two trusts for the benefits of Williams' children and his wife may be protected from lingering debts that haunted the actor until his death. Assets placed into irrevocable trusts can often be shielded from creditors, and revocable living trusts become irrevocable trusts upon the creator's death.
However, unpaid alimony and child support are known exceptions to this trust protection -- so Williams' two ex-wives may get a piece.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.