Joan Rivers and Robin Williams

A big salute to Joan Rivers, who was one of the funniest comics of all. Also a nanu-nanu to Robin Williams. Sorry that we lost both.

It’s been reported that Joan and Robin thought significantly ahead and provided well and thoroughly for their children and grandchildren in their estate plans. In Joan’s case, she apparently was careful and diligent in her affairs, with reports that everything she had went to her daughter Melissa. Of course, Melissa’s son Cooper will be seen after by Melissa now, who stands to inherit close to $300 million. Without a second marriage or a blended family, Joan’s affairs will be settled quickly. And due to that, her daughter was allowed to attend to funeral arrangements and mourn without the stress of unsettled matters.

Mork also did well in his planning. In his case, he demonstrated an excellent tool for distributing assets wisely and fairly. He established 3 individual trusts for his children, with each receiving 1/3 of their bequests at age 21, 25 and 30. This forethought takes care of his children and provides some posthumous wisdom on their handling of their inheritances. He also placed his home and his ranch in an irrevocable real estate trust, thus insulating his estate from a large estate tax bill.

So, we take away several lessons: Think ahead. Plan ahead. And follow through.

As busy as Robin and Joan were in their careers and lives, they made enough time to take care of their children. I hear a lot of “I’ve been meaning to do that…”. But there’s nothing like sitting at a table and signing your will and other estate documents that make you feel a sense of accomplishment and peace of mind. I bet Joan and Robin would have agreed.

David

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