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Philip Seymour Hoffman

When world renowned, Oscar winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died on 2nd February 2014, his fans, co-stars, and Hollywood went into mourning. He was 46 years old.

Hoffman had written a will, and in it, he left his estate to his children’s mother, Mimi O’Donnell. Although the pair were separated, they maintained a friendship that had lasted throughout Hoffman’s many heroin based problems.

So far, so good.

Hoffman also set up a trust fund for his eldest son, Cooper. This is a sensible thing to do, a great idea, especially since Cooper is just 10 years old – there is a lot of money involved, and a child wouldn’t know what to do with it. Not only this, but a trust fund ensures that no one else, acting in the best interests of the child or not, will be able to do anything with the boy’s inheritance. Cooper will be able to access half of the trust fund when he is 25, and the remainder when he turns 30.

Hoffman was very specific in detailing where he wanted Cooper to grow up. He clearly states that the boy live in Manhattan, Chicago, or San Francisco. And if he cannot live there, then he must visit at least every 6 months. Why? Hoffman must have felt strongly enough about these places to believe that they were essential to his son’s future and well being.

That’s the wonderful thing about wills – it is possible to include any wishes you want to be carried out after your death. Peace of mind for everyone.

So Philip Seymour Hoffman’s will seems fair and straightforward. Money to his ex-partner, money to his son, and a wish to see the boy grow up in a suitable place.

There is a problem, though. This is an old will, made when Cooper was born. Since then, Hoffman and O’Donnell had two more children, Tallulah (7) and Willa (5). These daughters are not mentioned at all in the will, as Hoffman did not make any amendments when they were born.

So what happens now? Hopefully, Hoffman’s family and lawyers will be able to give the girls an equal share of the trust fund money, or perhaps split their mother’s inheritance. But even if it is resolved quickly, it is still an inconvenience, and will perhaps, one day, cause the girls to wonder why their father didn’t think to include them.

So please, whatever happens, do keep your will up to date. It will save so much heartache at an already difficult time. Just contact us for advice on how to amend your will; we’re here to help.

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