By: Nigel Boys
After the apparent suicide of the 63-year-old actor Robin Williams this week, it has been revealed that although he had been struggling financially over the last few years, he did have the common sense to set up a trust fund for his children while he was still alive.
According to TMZ, Williams set up a trust fund for his three children, Zachary, 31, Zelda, 25, and Cody, 22, to ensure their financial security, even though he was troubled money wise after going through two expensive divorces. They added, however, that being a wise father, he put stipulations on their trust, just to make sure they wouldn’t blow it all while they were still young.
Although the amount is unknown, the trust allowed his children to get one third of the money upon reaching the age of 21, a full half of the remainder at the age of 25 and the remaining balance was kept on hold until their 30th birthdays. This means that while Zachary has received the full amount, Zelda has one more payment to collect and Cody still has two.
The Mrs. Doubtfire actor had been struggling with depression for several years and he had previously beaten a dependency to alcohol and drugs in the late 70s and 80s. However, due to a relapse in 2006, he had recently checked into rehab to “fine tune and focus on his continued commitment to sobriety.”
Williams was reported to have been downsizing his properties after two divorces left him with serious debt.
In an interview with Parade Magazine in 2013, Williams told them that divorce was expensive. He added that he used to joke that before the word “alimony” was invented, they were going to call it “all the money.”
Zelda Williams posted a tribute to her father via Instagram, sharing a quote from the book “The Little Prince,” by French writer Antoine De Saint-Exupery.
The quote reads, “You – you alone will have the stars as no one else has them…In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them, I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night…You – only you – will have stars that can laugh.” She added the words underneath, “I love you. I miss you. I’ll try to keep looking up. Z.”
Financial Juneteenth lessons from this story, from Dr. Boyce Watkins, author of the books, “Black American Money” and “Financial Lovemaking”:
1) Chemical addictions like drugs and alcohol can destroy your finances. Avoid them at all costs. Also, be thoughtful about other possible addictions, like gambling or even sleeping around. Many of these things can harm you financially.
2) Divorce is expensive. Either learn how to stay married for good or don’t get married at all. There are plenty of books out there to help you determine if your love interest is marriage material, and also how to resolve disputes in your relationships. Read them so you don’t lose everything due to a personal mistake.
3) Ask yourself: If I die tomorrow, will my children be taken care of? If the answer is “no,” this DOES make you an inadequate parent. Be a good parent and ensure that you at least get a small life insurance policy so that your family doesn’t go broke trying to bury you. Sorry to be so blunt, but I’m just being honest. Good parents plan for their children – you aren’t going to live forever.