The widow of Robin Williams is embroiled in a pitched legal battle with his children over his estate, six months after the actor took his own life at his Tiburon home, court records show.
Susan Schneider Williams, the late comedian’s third wife, and his three children from two previous marriages, Zak, Zelda and Cody Williams, have traded emotional accusations in documents filed in San Francisco Superior Court over everything from the actor’s memorabilia and jewelry to the tuxedo he wore at his last wedding to action figures.
In a filing in December, Susan Williams said property was “unilaterally removed” from the couple’s home just days after her husband of three years died and that she was only asked for permission afterward.
“Susan Schneider Williams lost her husband through a shocking and emotionally charged event that occurred in their own home in Tiburon,” her filing says. “Since the incident, she was not given time to grieve her loss free from the frenetic efforts to interfere with her domestic tranquillity and even short-term continuity of her home with two high school boys.”
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In a response filed in January, the actor’s children – Zak, 31, Zelda, 25, and 23-year-old Cody – said they were “heartbroken” that Susan Williams “acted against his wishes by challenging the plans he so carefully made for his estate.” They said the petition was “premature and unwarranted,” added “insult to a terrible injury” and appeared to be motivated by greed.
At issue are the comedian’s personal effects, including awards like the Oscar he won for “Good Will Hunting,” six Golden Globes, two Emmys and five Grammys.
According to the actor’s will, his estate was left to his children in a trust. But it also mandated the creation of a second trust for his wife, called the Susan Trust, which included the Tiburon home on St. Thomas Way, its contents and “all expenses associated with daily upkeep as well as unexpected renovations and improvements,” Susan Williams’ petition says.
An updated trust directed that Robin Williams’ clothing, jewelry, memorabilia, awards, personal photos taken before his marriage to Susan Williams, and property at a second home in Napa be given to his children.
Susan Williams said she was given three days’ notice that co-trustees wanted to remove items from the home that the children said belonged to them. She said she “became frightened of the co-trustees invading her home” and blocked them. The children questioned why she would take such an action when she allowed appraisers and construction workers access to the home.
In her filing, Susan Williams made clear that she wasn’t seeking items from her husband’s entertainment career, like the “suspenders that Mr. Williams wore on the ‘Mork & Mindy' show.” But she said she was entitled to things like the tuxedo he wore at their wedding and “personal collections of knickknacks and other items that are not associated with his famous persona.”
In their filing, the actor’s children took offense at the use of the word “knickknacks,” saying their father had “carefully amassed” his collections of Japanese anime figurines, theater masks, graphic novels, bicycles, walking sticks, Native American articles and movie posters, among other items.
Robin Williams, 63, who had in the past struggled with cocaine and alcohol addiction and severe depression, was last seen alive by his wife on Aug. 10. His personal assistant found his body the next morning after Williams failed to answer knocks at his door.
Authorities concluded that he died of asphyxia due to hanging. Toxicology reports showed he had no drugs or alcohol in his system, authorities said.
An examination of his brain tissue by University of California at San Francisco doctors revealed abnormal protein deposits consistent with Lewy body dementia, the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s, the coroner’s report said.