Robin Williams‘ widow and his three children from previous marriages are currently engaged in a legal battle over everything from his clothing to his action figures, months after the actor and comic’s death.
Williams’ third wife, Susan Schneider Williams, whom he married in 2011, filed court documents making her case in December, while his children – Zak, born to his first wife Valerie Velardi, and Zelda and Cody, born to second wife Marsha Garces Williams – submitted their papers in January. The New York Times reports that a number of items are at stake, including photographs, bicycles, fossils, toys and his awards and that the children would like to see the matter resolved “as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
The actor’s will left his estate to his children in a trust, but it also called for the creation of provisions to benefit his wife, who has two teenage sons of her own. This included the couple’s home in Tiburon, California and “the contents thereof.” In her filing, Williams’ wife alleged that within days of the actor’s death, items were “unilaterally removed” from her home. Moreover, when she hired a lawyer, she found that home services like newspaper delivery were canceled. All of this, she claimed, has interfered with the grieving process.
For their part, the children said they are “heartbroken” in their petition and underscored their feelings about Susan Williams by mentioning that she was married to the actor for “less than three years.” In their opinion, the widow’s filing “adds insult to terrible injury” and is a means to “prevent them from receiving what their father wanted them to receive.” They allege that she “acted against [their father’s] wishes by challenging the plans he so carefully made for his estate.”
The most hotly debated items are Williams’ personal effects, including his awards – an Oscar for Good Will Hunting, six Golden Globes, two Emmys and five Grammys. An updated version of Williams’ trust said that the actor’s clothing, jewelry and photos taken prior to the actor and Susan’s marriage, as well as his second home in Napa, California and its contents, should go to his children.
Susan explicitly said that she was not seeking items related to the actor’s career in entertainment, but wanted items like the tux he wore to their wedding along with his “personal collections of knickknacks and other items that are not associated with his famous persona.” (The word “knickknacks” did not sit well with Williams’ children, who thought it was an off-color way of describing the actor’s extensive collections of graphic novels, action figures, theater masks and movie posters.)
Susan claimed that the children gave her only three days’ notice, following Williams death, before they wanted to come to the Tiburon home and take what the trust promised them. She said that she “became frightened of the co-trustees invading her home” and subsequently blocked them. The children took issue with that move since she allowed to have others into her home, including appraisers who placed a value on items said to belong to the children, as well as construction workers who completed a $30,000 renovation on the home.
Within days of the actor’s death, Susan and the three children each released statements about how the actor’s passing had affected them. His widow spoke on behalf of the family and asked for privacy while it grieved. The three children each wrote personal notes. Zak called the comedian his “a best friend,” while Zelda said she felt “stripped bare.” Cody said, “The world will never be the same without him.”