Tears of A Clown

by Jill Francis on October 3rd, 2015

I doubt there’s anyone under the age of 10 who hasn’t belly laughed at one of Robin William’s characters.  After all, if he had done nothing else, he would have been immortalized for being Disney’s Genie in “Alladin”.  And for all of the laughter he provided so many of us for so many decades, his family is doing anything but laughing.  Rather than spending their time mourning his death and laughing as they remember him, they are arguing in court.

It’s children versus widow (who only married Williams in 2011), as the attorneys “interpret” his last wishes among the legal jargon that is his Will. This is only one of thousands of these types of cases every year and certainly we all know of a family who has fought and/or gone to court over end-of-life settlement issues.  It doesn’t have to be this way and shouldn’t be this way, so here are some ideas if you have none of your own:

1.   Talk to all of your children and TELL them what will go to each one and make a list.-

2.  Have a family weekend, give Monopoly money to all of your grown children, “auction” off the family heirlooms and memorabilia, and have them “purchase” the item with their money.  This will help each child narrow down what they really want; after all, if they have $3,000 to spend, do they really want to use it all on the Grandfather clock and oriental rugs?  This process also helps them determine what is really important to their siblings and can open doors to conversation.  Then make a list of what everyone has purchased and when the time comes, everyone will know what items belong to which child.

2.  Take a permanent marker and write the recipient’s name somewhere hidden on the item.  Granted, this seems like a crude approach and isn’t the best idea for Grandma’s china or crystal, but it accomplishes the task.Spend some time brainstorming with your family for other ideas.  

After years of making us laugh, I believe Robin would be crying now at the state of his family’s affairs; please don’t let this happen to yours.  Have conversations, make plans, talk and talk some more.

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