Robin Williams Estate Plan Was Secretive (the way it should be) Opines

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Acclaimed comedic actor Robin Williams succumbed to his personal demons, but he managed to put some of his estate planning affairs in order before his sad demise. investigates.

Robin Williams Estate Plan Secretive because he used trusts

Robin Williams Estate Plan Secretive

We may never find out whether the trust that Williams set up is revocable or irrevocable. For the sake of his surviving family, we hope he chose an irrevocable trust because it is the difference between paying an estimated $15M in estate taxes or zero.

On Monday, August 11th, the world lost one of its funniest and most beloved performers. Robin Williams was 63 years old when his body was found at his Marin County home in California (1). Early police reports indicated that Williams took his own life.

Throughout his life, Williams was candid about his constant struggle with substance abuse and depression, According to the Charlotte Observer, Williams' first incursion into sober territory took place after the fatal overdose of Saturday Night Live legend John Belushi, who was close to Williams and often partied with (2).

Williams was a hard worker who loved the spotlight even as he battled timidity, insecurity and other hang-ups brought on by social anxiety and deep depression (2). He was as kind as he was funny, and he adored his chosen line of work because he loved amassing a small fortune just as much as he loved making people laugh. According to Forbes, Williams' net worth may have reached the $130 million mark in 2012, but several financial issues over the last two years may have reduced that figure down to $50 million or even less (3).

News of Williams' tragic passing reverberated around the world, and even President Barack Obama issued a public notice of condolence that recalled the actor's roles in films such as Good Morning Vietnam, Aladdin and Good Will Hunting (1). After the early shock of his suicide, greater attention is being placed on his estate planning. As is often the case with news coverage related to the passing of celebrities, there was speculation about the possibility of a will left by Williams (4). However, that was not the case.

Forbes reports on the existence of a trust set up by Williams (3) to hold his most valuable assets at the time he passed away: two magnificent properties in California. One mansion in Napa Valley is named Villa Sorriso; the other is located in Tiburon. Forbes estimates the combined equity of these two properties at $25 million. Marketwatch had previously reported on the terms of a different trust that contained instructions on how assets should be distributed among Williams' children, but that trust was later determined to no longer be in effect (5).

“We actually don't know too much about how the estate of Robin Williams will be handled,” explains Rocco Beatrice, Managing Director of Estate Street Partners, LLC, “this is actually the way it is supposed to work. Wills are made public, trusts are kept private. Williams may have loved the spotlight as a performer, but he seems to have cherished privacy as well.” is operated by Estate Street Partners, LLC is a firm dedicated to asset management and estate planning. Mr. Beatrice expanded on Williams' choice of a trust over a will: “The issue of privacy in estate planning is of utmost importance to our clients; for this reason, our website features plenty of information on this issue. We recommend using irrevocable trusts instead of wills for ultimate privacy, but there are many other substantial benefits as well.”

The only information that Forbes was able to report on the Williams trust is the name of the instrument and the properties it holds; this information can be gleaned from property records. The name of the trust, Domus Dulcis Domus Holding Trust (3), is Latin for “Home Sweet Home.” Any other assets held by the trust or the instructions therein are not known because that information is kept private. The information gathered by Marketwatch was attributed to Williams' publicist.

“We may never find out whether the trust that Williams set up is revocable or irrevocable,” states Mr. Beatrice; “for the sake of his surviving family and his estate, we hope he chose an irrevocable trust because it is the difference between paying an estimated $15M in estate taxes or zero.”

When clients initiate their estate planning on, they are walked through the process of setting up an irrevocable trust. There are many advantages that irrevocable trusts present over their revocable counterparts. Whereas both instruments manage to grant privacy at death and avoid probate, only the irrevocable trust can eliminate estate taxes, deter creditors, and truly protect the assets held within.

Mr. Beatrice continues: “Williams continued to work until the moment of his death, and thus we can assume that his estate will receive income from royalties and other sources. We can assume that these future funds will benefit Williams' widow and his children, and it would be in the best interest of survivors to have these assets managed by a professional, independent trustee who is bound by fiduciary duty to carry out the terms of the contract. If Williams wanted peace of mind and security for his family, he would have ceded control of his assets to an irrevocable trust managed by an independent trustee. There is simply no other estate planning tool that offers as many advantages as an irrevocable trust, as long as it is properly set up and independently managed by a professional trustee.”

About Estate Street Partners (
For 30 years, Estate Street Partners has been helping clients protect assets from divorce and frivolous lawsuits while eliminating estate taxes and probate as well as ensuring superior Medicaid asset protection for both parents and children with their Premium UltraTrust® Irrevocable Trust. Call (888) 938-5872 to learn more.


1. 8/11/14
2. 8/12/14
3. 8/12/14
4. 8/12/14
5. 8/14/14

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Rocco Beatrice

Rocco Beatrice
Irrevocable Trust Asset Protection
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