Readers in California may be interested to know that Philip Seymour Hoffman, the acclaimed actor who died in February following a drug overdose at the age of 46, reportedly went to great lengths to protect his children from the pitfalls of becoming overly reliant on his wealth. Court documents released in the months since the actor's passing show that his estate plan included provisions that left the majority of his fortune to a girlfriend rather than his three children. Hoffman and his girlfriend, who is the mother to the three children, had been together for many years prior to his passing.
The documents state that Hoffman had reiterated his wishes that his entire estate be left to his partner as recently as the year before his death. The actor's lawyer and accountant, who repeatedly asked the actor to set up trust funds for his children, wrote the will. The document names his girlfriend as the sole heir and executor of his estate, suggesting that she would be able to provide for their children's best interests.
The will did provide for the formation of a trust that named his oldest son as a beneficiary in case both Hoffman and his girlfriend were deceased. That section of the will also included language suggesting that Hoffman wanted the boy to grow up in cities in the U.S. that are homes to culture and art.
As this case shows, in addition to the distribution of assets, a comprehensive estate plan might also provide directions for the care of a person's children. When organizing such plans, it might be beneficial to work with an attorney. An attorney may be able to draft the required documentation and provide advice throughout the estate planning process.
Source: CNN, "Philip Seymour Hoffman didn't want 'trust fund kids,' court docs show", Alan Duke, July 22, 2014