Joan Rivers' Will Includes Donations To Charities

Daughter Melissa Becomes Executor Of Late Comedienne's Fortune

10.12.2014

Comedian Joan Rivers, who died in September this year, left some of her wealth to a number of her favourite charities in her will.

Her will, which was filed in New York State Surrogate's Court, made her daughter Melissa the executor of her estimated $150m (£96m) fortune.

Guide Dogs for the Blind, Jewish Guild Healthcare and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation were among the charities to receive a donation.

Others included the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, food pantry God's Love We Deliver, and the Jewish Home and Hospital Foundation in Manhattan.

Ms Rivers asked that her business manager Michael D Karlin and her interior designer Robert Higdon be named as co-executors of the living trust.

Although specific details of the value of her assets and how they will be divided have not been disclosed, it is known that bequests were made to her two assistants, her publicist and her niece and nephew, Caroline and Andrew Waxler.

Expert Opinion
While this may be a high-profile example of such practice, it is not an uncommon step for many people to choose to leave gifts to charities in their wills.

"In fact, bearing in mind that somewhere in the region of six in ten people in the UK do not have a will, it is worth remembering that preparing such a document is the best possible way to take steps to ensure your wishes are met after you pass away.

"However, it is equally important to consider speaking to friends and family regarding the decisions made in a will, with the aim of ensuring they understand the reasons behind the steps you want to take. This may be particularly key when it comes gifts to charity, as there is always the potential for relatives to feel they are entitled to such funds.

"Communication is key to ensure that people are well aware of your wishes and the reasons behind them, with the ultimate aim of preventing disputes from emerging further down the line."
Paula Myers, Partner