Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Estate Goes to Girlfriend, Not Kids

     Wills-trusts-and-estates-covered Philip Seymour Hoffman did everything in his power to make sure his children were "normal."             

When the Capote actor died of a heroin overdose in February, he left the bulk of his estate to his partner, Mimi O'Donnell, and added the unusual request that their offspring be raised outside of Los Angeles. According to his accountant, David Friedman, these decisions were made to keep his children from becoming trust fund kids.

After the tragic passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman in February, he left behind three minor children and a long-time girlfriend. Since he wasn't married, you may assume he would have left his estate to his kids. We now know from court papers that Hoffman did not leave his estate to his children. Instead, the majority of his estate was left to the girlfriend. A trust was created for one of his children, but money from the trust can only be used to pay for education, support, health, and maintenance.

A recent Yahoo article, titledWhy Philip Seymour Hoffman Didn't Leave His Fortune to His Children,” recounts why Hoffman distributed his assets this way. One thing we can tell is that he thought of his girlfriend as most people think of their spouses. He wanted to provide for her. The two were never married because Hoffman did not believe in marriage. The more interesting thing that we can learn from the story is that he did not leave his assets to the children because he did not want them to become “trust fund kids.” Instead, he trusted his girlfriend to provide for them. One child did receive a small trust. Apparently, this was the only child living at the time the estate plan was made.

You might want to consider what your estate plan might say about your intent. Does it do what you intend to happen? Think about what will happen to your assets and, even more significantly, what someone (who did not already know what you wanted) would think your intent was based on the plain language. If that language is different than what you really do intend, it might be time to visit an estate planning attorney to consider some changes to your plan.

For additional information on estate planning in Houston, please visit my website.

Reference: Yahoo (July 21, 2014) Why Philip Seymour Hoffman Didn't Leave His Fortune to His Children

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