Anne Heche died in August and reportedly had not established a final will and testament before she passed away, as her eldest son, Homer Laffoon, seeks to establish guardianship over his mother’s estate.
Laffoon, 20, filed the paperwork in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday, according to Page Six, and is requesting to be named the administrator of her estate, which has an “unknown” value and will need to undergo forensic accounting to establish its worth.
In addition, Homer, whom Heche shared with ex-husband Coley Laffoon, requested to be appointed “guardian ad litem” over his 13-year-old brother, Atlas Tupper, from Heche’s decade-long partnership with James Tupper, and “waive a bond that would be owed.”
The next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 11.
Peter Walzer, founding partner of Walzer Melcher & Yoda, exclusively told Fox News Digital that while it’s difficult to process, it’s not entirely uncommon for people to pass “intestate” or without a valid will, and Homer will “likely” inherit half of Heche’s estate as he’s legally an adult.
“Because Ms. Heche died in Los Angeles without a will or a trust, California’s laws of intestate succession will govern the disposition of her estate. Assets in accounts with a named beneficiary will be distributed to the beneficiaries, including retirement accounts,” he said.
Heche’s death was ruled an accident last month, according to a report released by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner. The late actress died of “inhalation and thermal injuries” with a “sternal fracture due to blunt trauma” under “other significant conditions” causing her death on Thursday, Aug. 11.
Only one of five manners of death can be listed on a coroner’s report: homicide, suicide, natural, accident or undetermined.
Walzer explained that because Atlas is a minor, his brother “requested that he be appointed guardian of his mother’s estate.”
“Homer will have to apply to the probate court, but Homer will likely inherit half of his mother’s estate,” Walzer said. But a question which remains to be unanswered is if he will actually be appointed guardian of the estate.
“He is only 20 years old and may not have the financial experience to manage his brother’s estate,” he said.
The New York Times bestselling author was “peacefully taken off life support” on Sunday, Aug. 14, after being declared brain-dead. She was involved in a fiery car collision in Mar Vista on Aug. 5, and suffered a “severe anoxic brain injury” before receiving medical care at the Grossman Burn Center in West Hills as she waited for the opportunity to donate her organs through the OneLegacy Foundation.
“My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom. After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness. Hopefully my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom,” Homer confirmed in a statement to Fox News Digital upon Heche’s death.
“Over those six days, thousands of friends, family, and fans made their hearts known to me. I am grateful for their love, as I am for the support of my Dad, Coley, and my stepmom Alexi who continue to be my rock during this time. Rest In Peace Mom, I love you, Homer.”
It’s unclear why Heche hadn’t established a final will before her death.
Walzer noted that it’s “common for people addressing mental health or substance abuse problems to not plan for their demise.” He added: “Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Prince, Kurt Cobain, Tupac Shakur, Pablo Picasso and others died without a will or trust.”
Prince, who died of a fentanyl overdose at the age of 57 in April 2016, had no legal heirs to his name when he passed away, and his six half-siblings were locked in a court battle for his $156 million estate up until recently.
In August, six years after his death, a Minnesota judge signed off on an agreement distributing assets, music rights and any additional intangibles to the six half-siblings, three of which sold their shares to Primary Wave, an independent publishing company.
Aretha Franklin died in 2018 and also hadn’t established a will aside from a number of handwritten notes discovered around her home after her death. The late Queen of Soul’s estate was further marred by an enormous tax debt, which was just recently paid off.
The Detroit Free Press reported in July that the $7.8 million debt owed to the Internal Revenue Service was paid in full after eight years of unpaid taxes. Her four sons are assumed to receive an even split of her estate now that the debt is settled, but the case is still open.
Amy Winehouse also died without a valid will. Forbes estimated her net worth was just below $5 million when she died in 2011, and her parents, Janis and Mitch Winehouse, inherited her assets.
“Celebrities without estate plans are creative people,” Walzer said. “They live alternative lifestyles where financial planning is not their top priority.”