SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The widow of comic legend Robin Williams and his three adult children are locked in a pitched battle over his estate months after his death, court records show.
The conflict centres on items the groundbreaking comedian left behind after committing suicide in August, from clothing and watches to collectibles such as bicycles and figurines, as well as some of his fortune.
His widow, Susan Schneider Williams, said in a petition filed in Superior Court in San Francisco on Dec. 19 that a trust Williams set up for her entitled her to their home in Tiburon, California, and most of its contents.
The petition said some property was removed from the house without her permission and that “Mrs. Williams became frightened of the co-trustees invading her home,” prompting her to hire legal counsel.
“Susan Schneider Williams lost her husband through a shocking and emotionally charged event,” the document said. “Since the incident, she was not given time to grieve her loss free from the frenetic efforts to interfere with her domestic tranquility.”
The filing said that while another home Williams owned in Napa, California, and most of the items inside belonged to his children - Zachary, Zelda, and Cody - based on a separate trust, certain personal items did not.
Robin Williams’ children responded in a filing on Jan. 21, alleging that Susan Schneider Williams was deliberately attempting to obscure the language of the documents to secure more of the estate for herself.
The children’s filing said they were “heartbroken” and that Susan Schneider Williams, who became the actor’s third wife in 2011, was acting against his wishes by challenging his plans for his estate.
“Robin’s children want nothing more than to be left alone to grieve,” their spokesman Allan Mayer said in a statement. “The fact that they are being forced into these legal proceedings adds insult to a terrible injury.”
Mayer denied that the children may have taken anything from Susan Williams’ home.
Susan Williams’ attorney, James Wagstaffe, did not respond to a request for comment.
Oscar winner Williams, 63, hanged himself with a belt in his Tiburon home on Aug. 11, after seeking treatment for depression. He was last seen alive by his widow.
His death sent shockwaves across the country and stood in stark contrast to the characters he portrayed in films such as “Good Morning, Vietnam” and “Dead Poets Society” who encouraged people to tap into their own inner vitality.
Additional reporting by Jill Serjeant in New York; Editing by Richard Chang and Alan Crosby