Robin Williams and wife Marsha Garces Williams sons Cody Zachary with girlfriend Alex daughter Zelda at the Golden Globes Awards in 2005

Robin Williams and wife Marsha Garces Williams, sons Cody, Zachary with girlfriend Alex, daughter Zelda at the Golden Globes Awards in 2005.

Robin Williams’ Widow Seeks Clarification of Trust Terms

Dispute over personal effects still ongoing

In August 2014,  “Good Will Hunting” star Robin Williams died in his Tiburon, Calif. estate.  Nearly one year later, the details of his will have been publicly released and now serve as a catalyst for an incendiary dispute between third wife, Susan Schneider, and his three adult children Zelda, Cody and Zak.  According to the will, Robin wished to divide his Napa estate and its possessions among his three kids, including the actor’s jewelry, clothing, awards and myriad other memorabilia.  The recently widowed Susan, however, filed a petition to clarify what she asserts is the “ambiguous” language used to delineate the trust.

Susan now postulates that although her late husband declared his adult children the official beneficiaries of his estate, he never made clear that the personal effects of the estate they shared in Tiburon were to also be bequeathed to them.  Following the estate’s trustee’s attempt to gain access to the Tiburon home and remove personal property contrary to Susan’s wishes, she’s officially lawyered up and seeks retribution to the damages the dispute has caused her; as she elucidates, the entire disagreement has hindered her ability to mourn the loss of her husband, and instead has created “frenetic efforts [interfering] with her domestic tranquility.”

Dividing the Personal Items

Susan is seeking possession of Robin’s expansive watch collection, arguing that the watches don’t fall under the category of “jewelry” as conventionally defined.  Concomitantly, Susan is pursuing legal ownership of approximately 300 other personal items, including the star’s wedding tuxedo and promise ring, possessions she posits they shared as part of their marriage.  She’s publicly declared in court filings that she’s inherently entitled to “the knick-knacks and other items not associated with [Robin’s] famous persona.” Nonetheless, Robin’s three children contend that the items Susan considers to be “knick-knacks” have, in fact, inspired their father’s adoption of countless fictional personas, thereby establishing those possessions as their own.

Court Date Set for July

Vis-à-vis the contentious dispute bifurcating the relationship between children and wife, San Francisco judge Andrew Cheng has allocated the parties two extra months to resolve their issues.  Susan’s attorney, James Wagstaffe, has proceeded to label her claim as comparable to the widow pursuing “a small bucket of water from a lake,” averring that Robin, in fact, left both parties over 100 million each.

Despite the extraneous media coverage of the dispute catastrophizing the conflict between the children and Susan, the parties seem to have made some peace concerning some of the possessions about which they’ve been heatedly arguing back and forth.  A final court date has been set for July 29 this summer, when the case will reappear before a judge and be settled once and for all. 

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