“Robin had no financial problems,” Mara Buxbaum, Williams’ longtime publicist and the president of ID-PR told TheWrap. She added, “We should be blessed to have Robin’s financial status.”
Shortly after Williams’ death was confirmed Monday, online gossip publications jumped to potential money issues of the late actor, something that his publicist said simply do not exist.
“I understand the desire to understand the ‘Why,'” Buxbaum continued. “It’s not going to happen. The better thing to do is to try to understand severe depression. That isn’t going to be answered, and you can speculate all you want.”
Still last year, Williams told Parade magazine that part of the reason for his return to TV via CBS’ “The Crazy Ones” was to have a steady gig and pay the bills: “The idea of having a steady job is appealing. I have two [other] choices: go on the road doing stand-up, or do small, independent movies working almost for scale [minimum union pay].”
“The movies are good, but a lot of times they don’t even have distribution,” he added. “There are bills to pay.”
“My life has downsized, in a good way,” Williams continued. “I’m selling the ranch up in Napa. I just can’t afford it anymore.”
“The Crazy Ones” was canceled after just one season; Williams earned an estimated $165,000 per episode.
Buxbaum says that in that interview her client was expressing his appreciation for stability, and was otherwise joking about a comfortable financial status.
“Robin often said things in jest, and sometimes it just doesn’t translate in print,” she said. “There were plenty of times over the years that Robin was offered to do TV,” Buxbaum told us. “Robin wanted to do ‘The Crazy Ones’ because of (show creator) David Kelley and the material. That’s why he took the show … not because he needed the money.”
Another topic that he often cracked wise about were his divorces, Buxbaum said.
When asked by Parade if he lost all of his money in the two splits, Williams said: “Well, not all. Lost enough. Divorce is expensive. I used to joke they were going to call it ‘all the money,’ but they changed it to ‘alimony.’ It’s ripping your heart out through your wallet. Are things good with my exes? Yes. But do I need that lifestyle? No.”
On reported trust funds and the financial status the late comic and actor leaves behind, she concluded, “We will not comment on specifics other than to say Robin’s family is amply taken care of.”
According to Forbes, Williams’ net worth was an estimated $50 million. Public real estate records show that Williams’ Napa Valley mansion, which rests on 653 acres and is named Villa Sorriso, has been on the market since April for $29.9 million. Williams also leaves behind a 6,500-square-fo
The two properties have mortgages that totaled $7.25 million as of 2011. Doing some math, that means Williams left behind real estate with equity of around $25 million, subject to a Villa Sorriso sale.
“Presumably there are no probate issues because he had good legal advice and had a fully funded living trust,” legal trust expert Bruce Givner said, adding: “Presumably there will be no interesting legal issues because his trust provided that the assets would be held for his wife and children.”
“Whether there was estate tax planning we probably won’t know because his estate planning documents will never become public,” he continued. “The only way they will become public is if he died without a will or trust; with only a will and not a living trust; or if there is litigation.”
Givner is no stranger to high profile Hollywood clients, having represented Phil Spector all the way through jail and probating Robert Blake’s estate, among many others.
While Givner doesn’t know Williams’ specific bequeathment situation, he can make a fairly reasonable assumption, he said. “No one with any type of wealth will have a will as their main dispositive document,” Givner told TheWrap.
Plus, California is the home of the alternative living trust, a substitute for a will, Givner said. And the living trust has many advantages over a will — the main one being privacy.
While a probated will goes to probate court and is public, a living trust doesn’t, unless there is a dispute. In 98 percent of cases there are no fights and living trusts are never made public.
On Monday, Williams was found dead in his residence “with a belt secured around his neck, with the other end of the belt wedged between the closed closet door and door frame,” according to the coroner. There was no note.