Robin Williams's Widow and Children Battle over His Estate
Six months after his tragic death, Robin Williams’s widow and his children are locked in a legal battle over his possessions.
The dispute is outlined in court documents obtained by PEOPLE – one set filed in December by the comedian’s wife, Susan Williams; another filed in January by his children from previous marriages, Zachary, Zelda and Cody.
At issue are two houses Williams owned at the time of his death – one in Napa and one in Tiburon, California, north of San Francisco. Williams’s trust gives the Tiburon residence and its contents to his widow upon his death. But it also says the children should get his “clothing, jewelry, personal photos taken prior to his marriage to [Susan] memorabilia and awards in the entertainment industry and the tangible personal property located in Napa.”
Susan and the children interpret the meaning of those directions differently.
Susan says the term “memorabilia” should not include what she terms his “personal collections of knick-knacks,” and that “jewelry” should not include his watch collection. The children counter that those “knick-knacks,” which their father “carefully amassed” during his life, include Japanese anime figurines, antique weapons, carved boxes, theater masks, rare books, lapel pins, fossils, graphic novels and skulls – and should go to them.
The children say Susan is “adding insult to a terrible injury” by trying to change the trust and that they are “heartbroken” that she has “acted against his wishes by challenging the plans he so carefully made for his estate.”
There has also been a dispute about the removal of property from the Tiburon home after Williams’s suicide last August. Susan claims trustees were “invading” the home without her permission to remove the items; the children say the trustees were entitled to do so, and that Susan held them off for months while she had third parties appraise certain assets.
Allan Mayer, a spokesman for the Williams children, said in a press statement Tuesday, “Robin’s children want nothing more than to be left alone to grieve … The fact is that they have been barred from what had been their father’s house, and not even the trustees of the Robin Williams Trust have been able to conduct a complete inventory.”
Says Jim Wagstaffe, a lawyer representing Susan: “Maybe it’s a misunderstanding. It’s not a question of adding insult to injury or being heartbroken. It’s a relatively modest request for instructions from a court to determine what we believe are Robin’s very clear wishes.”
Adds Wagstaffe: “In times of grieving, misunderstandings can occur, and that’s why the court system gives us a wonderful way to ask for instructions There’s no big hurry here.”
A hearing on the matter is scheduled for March 30 in San Francisco Superior Court.