The actor Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away recently, and some news about his estate plan is starting to circulate.
The first reports were coming from the website TMZ, and now there is a more comprehensive piece appearing on the New York Daily News website. According to the article, a copy of Hoffman’s will, which was executed back in 2004, has surfaced.
Philip Seymour Hoffman was apparently estranged from his longtime partner Mimi O’Donnell. In spite of their estrangement, the article states that she was named as the sole heir to most of his estate. He reportedly set up a trust for his son Cooper as well.
The will left behind instructions with regard to where he would like his son Cooper to be raised. His first choice was Manhattan, because of the culture and architecture. He reportedly went on to state that San Francisco or Chicago would be next on the list if residence in Manhattan was not feasible or practical for one reason or another.
Validity of Hoffman Will
We are being told that a copy of a 2004 will exists. As time goes on, more information is likely to become available. Based on what we have seen so far, there is no absolute proof that this is the only will that exists, or that it is the last will that Hoffman signed.
If additional information becomes available to the public, we will pass it along here on the blog.
Celebrity Estate Planning Successes and Failures
We like to share information about celebrity estate planning news because you can often learn something from the successes and failures of others. In this case, it is heartening to see that Hoffman did in fact have a will in place according to multiple reports.
On the other side of the coin, someone in his financial situation may well have been better served by a more comprehensive estate plan. The estate tax is going to be a factor, because the value of his estate is estimated at $35 million.
When you are leaving behind this kind of money you must take steps to gain estate tax efficiency. If you don’t, a great deal will be lost to death taxes.
Plus, if this is indeed the last will, he did not update his estate plan since 2004. Since then he fathered two additional children, his financial situation changed, and estate tax laws changed .
You should always update your estate plan when significant life changes take place. Having a child would certainly fit the description of a significant life change.
Lastly, he could have arranged for a more timely transfer of assets. According to O’Donnell’s lawyer, the children relied on him for support, and the family is concerned about a timely administration of the estate.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.