What Robin Williams can teach us about planning

Elaine King

The great actor Robin Williams made us laugh and made us cry, but not everyone knew his other side. According to a recent article in TimesMagazine, apparently Robin Williams' children are disappointed because his wife, Susan Scheneider, didn't follow Robin's wishes to the letter and went against his children in terms of money. The problem was that he didn't leave very specific instructions, thus allowing his wife to spend money limitlessly on house renovations and putting at risk his own children's heritage. The artifacts and pieces of the house than Robin didn't specify in his documents are also being disputed. How sad! What happened when everything was lovey-dovey? You should plan when everything’s going great. What we can learn from all this?

Plan in detail update your will and your intentions. Make sure that your assets are in the necessary institutions so they’re protected. For example, a property that you rent should be on separate name or entity to decrease debt risks to third parties.

Communicate your plan to all those involved – often, good intentions can be misinterpreted when they're not communicated properly. Use an online course or an educational program to teach your family or consider hiring an advisor to help them out.

Avoid leaving commons – leaving the house to the siblings seems to be the easiest choice, but they'll all have different priorities. One of them will want to sell, another’ll want to rent and the other perhaps will want to do neither for sentimental reasons. It's possible to designate a third party who can make that decision or otherwise facilitate this decision with a professional.

It’s proven that planning improves the odds of success. According to the National University of Litoral, good planning increases and dramatically improves your chances of success, referring specifically to entrepreneurs.

When writing a will, there are a lot of things that should be taken into account: legal issues, drafting and many more. Above all, we must remember that we are all likely to go through an eventuality and being prepared for it doesn't just involve the destiny of your worldly goods after your passing, but also the protection of those who were a part of your life. Money is a delicate thing and keeping things straight is what's best for protecting even the most fragile relationships.

Hopefully they will be able to solve their issues without destroying their family. I hope that Valentine's Day makes them see that love is above all things and that this unfortunate situation becomes nothing more than just a bump in the road of their family history.

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Elaine King - Family and Money Matters™ 2021