Robin Williams, ‘Affluenza’ and Your Grand Rapids and Muskegon Estate Plan
The death of beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams was a sad event for many, but those most struggling are his children. Williams created his estate plan that in a way that works to protect them from a multitude of issues—including what has been coined “affluenza.” This term refers to children of the very rich who become somewhat disconnected from reality due to their financial means.
Courts have ruled certain young people don’t have to take responsibility for their own actions because extreme wealth was left them without any preparation for the consequences.
Robin Williams, a truly loving father by all accounts, worked to ensure that his children would not fall victim to affluenza when he and his estate planning lawyer developed his children’s trusts. The trusts created during Robin Williams’ estate planning weren’t dependent upon his death, but it has certainly brought them into the public’s awareness.
Funds were already being dispersed to his children while he was still alive. This is a method that parents can use to monitor how their kids use the income and provide guidance on how they should handle it or step in with corrective actions as needed. According to some reports, Williams three children have and will receive portions of his assets at ages 21 (1/3 of their share), 25 (half of the balance), and 30 (the remainder). This approach allows for children to become adept with their money over time rather than having a large sum given to them all at once with no prior knowledge on how to handle it.
In Robin Williams’ case, he chose to have his children receive their inheritances when they reached certain ages. This is just one method for dispersing a trust, which has been the standard for trust giving over the past several decades. A parent can tie the money to specific achievements—such as graduating college or becoming a parent themselves. Estate planning lawyers are able to help outline the requirements of a trust to create terms that fit their family’s specific needs and desires. What this approach fails to do, however, is to provide an avenue for the children to continue to keep the funds creditor-protected in trusts for as long as the children see fit. Sometimes it is more advisable to tie up the funds for every so that they provide lifetime income during their working years and then a head start on their retirement savings.
It is also worth noting that trusts can have some very valuable tax benefits when compared to leaving an inheritance via a will and/or the probate process. With so many advantages to this type of arrangement, many parents are choosing this proactive approach with their estate planning lawyers.
To learn how a trust may be beneficial for the protection of your assets and loved ones, please contact our Muskegon and Grand Rapids estate planning law firm at 800.667.5291. Simply mention this article to schedule a comprehensive 90-120 minute planning session at no-charge, which is double our typical free initial consultation of 45-60 minutes.