Fans of Philip Seymour Hoffman in New York were likely saddened to hear the news that the actor died in February and may be interested to learn that he did not leave anything to his children in his will. During his estate planning, he chose to leave his money to his girlfriend who is the mother of his three children, according to a court document. His attorney and his accountant reportedly encouraged him to create trust funds for his children, but Hoffman always refused.
Court filings revealed that Hoffman told his attorney that he did not like the idea of trust funds for his children. He accountant said that Hoffman explained that his reasoning was that he did not want his children to be considered trust fund children. Hoffman wrote a will in 2004 that left all his assets to his girlfriend, to whom he referred as a friend and companion. However, he confirmed his decision in 2013, according to his accountant.
The actor reportedly said that he believed that his girlfriend would take care of the three children. When the will was set up, Hoffman's son was one year old and his daughters had not been born yet. Hoffman's will did include provisions for a trust fund for his eldest child if the mother also died.
Failing to do proper estate planning can lead to a probate court making decisions about a deceased person's assets, which might not result in the decedent's wishes being carried out. An attorney could assist someone to set up appropriate means of having assets appropriately distributed as well as address other end-of-life concerns, such as who is named as a power of attorney.
Source: CNN, "Philip Seymour Hoffman didn't want 'trust fund kids,' court docs show", Alan Duke, July 22, 2014