The vicious legal battle over Anne Heche‘s estate continues — but what exactly is everyone fighting over?
As you know, Heche’s eldest son Homer Laffoon and her ex-boyfriend James Tupper are in a nasty legal dispute which has been growing since the actress tragically passed away in August. The 20-year-old filed a petition to gain control of his mom’s estate, as well as become the guardian ad litem over his little brother, Atlas Heche Tupper — James’ son. The actor, however, snapped back with the claim Anne once named him the executor of her estate in a decade-old email sent in January 2011. Homer and his legal team disagreed with the email’s legality — since it wasn’t physically signed and didn’t have “two witnesses who signed the document” during the time the actress was still alive.
The situation has been super complicated from the very beginning, but legal experts have weighed in, helping us understand it. Family law expert Atousa Saei, for instance, predicted last week that Tupper doesn’t stand a chance in court — telling People she believes Laffoon will win the estate, including the custody of his younger brother:
“I really think that Tupper is just going to be kind of faded out of this whole situation. I think he’s the father of a minor who stands to inherit from his mother, and I think that’s really going to be the extent of his involvement here. I don’t think that the court’s going to find that he’s a valid — that he’s the executor of it, of the estate … I also don’t think the court is likely to award him as the [guardian ad litem] here. Because remember, if the court does need to appoint someone as the GAL, the court can just appoint a neutral. It doesn’t have to be him.”
Being named guardian ad litem essentially gives someone the right to decide what’s best for the child when it comes to legal matters. If Atlas’ biological father gained this control, it would theoretically give him some control over Anne’s estate through his son.
Well, it seems Saei was exactly right. Dailymail.com reported on Tuesday that Judge Lee Bogdanoff decided to appoint Homer as GAL on Tuesday. James’ excuses of the 20-year-old being unqualified and not looking after his brother’s “best interests” didn’t seem to affect the judge’s decisions — who snapped back and reminded him a person can be “illiterate and still be an administrator”. That’s far from the case here — Homer is just young. James has until October 20 to file an objection to Bogdanoff’s ruling, however. The next hearing is on November 30.
Messy, messy, messy! And definitely not looking good for the 57-year-old… but what’s all this fuss over? Well, according to court documents obtained by the outlet, it’s not as much as you might think.
Homer wrote in his filings his mom’s estate was only worth $400,000 at the time of the 53-year-old’s passing:
“[The] best estimate on the value of all [Heche’s] personal property is $400,000. The probable value of the annual income from all the estate’s property is approximately $400,000.”
He writes that the late actress’ small fortune is made up of a “few modest banks accounts, tangible personal property of unknown value, royalty payments and other income”. He also adds she lived in an apartment at the time of her death and “did not have any interest” in owning real estate. He expects another $400,000 from royals and residuals annually.
This number comes as a shock to many people due to the star’s long and successful career. It’s a lot of money, to be sure. But it also doesn’t seem like much relatively, you know, in Hollywood terms. A few years ago she was one of the hottest movie stars on the planet. But it’s worth noting she hasn’t done any big movies in several years. She’s done several TV shows over the past decade, but nothing that lasted. Anne notably blamed the reaction to her relationship with Ellen DeGeneres as the reason her career fell off the map after the late ’90s.
Look, $400k is NOT nothin’. But it really paints this ruthless court battle in a new light, doesn’t it? Reactions, Perezcious readers?
[Image via Apega/MEGA/WENN.com/Instagram/Anne Heche]