The battle over late actress Anne Heche’s estate has been settled in a seemingly timely fashion. While many celebrity estate conflicts unfortunately tend to be long, drawn-out public legal battles, the legal fight in this case appears to now be resolved, only a few months after first being filed.
Shortly after Heche’s untimely death following a car crash, a legal dispute arose between her 20-year-old son Homer Laffoon and her ex-partner James Tupper (and father of Laffoon’s half-brother, Atlas Heche Tupper). As previously reported, Homer filed for legal control over his mother’s assets shortly following her death. James countered, claiming mismanagement of assets and that Homer has been hostile toward James and Atlas, and that “Atlas has no confidence in [Homer]'s ability to meet his fiduciary obligations to Atlas."
Homer Named General Administrator
Last week, the Los Angeles court ruled in Homer’s favor, naming him general administrator of Heche’s estate. In a statement to People magazine regarding the victory, Homer’s attorney stated, "We believe the court reached the correct result this morning, both legally and equitably, and are glad to have this phase of the process behind us. With Mr. Tupper's allegations and objections now resolved, we are hopeful the administration of the Estate can proceed without unnecessary complication."
The conflict between Homer and James arose earlier in the year, after the court granted Homer expanded powers as special administrator of the estate, granting him permission to take possession of his late mother’s personal property. He was required to move the property into a storage facility and inventory the items within five days of the relocation, with James claiming that Homer never properly inventoried the property.
The judge’s decision from last week includes a caveat that Homer could be removed as administrator if any evidence of fraud or embezzlement surfaces related to the estate. According to People, this was likely in response to James’ claims that $200,000 worth of jewelry has gone missing that Heche owned at the time of their relationship, though no evidence of any wrongdoing has been found so far.
The court also noted that the value of the estate isn’t set, as Heche’s second memoir is set to be released in January, and residuals for her acting roles are still incoming. People further reports that Homer was also granted the power to protect the interests of Heche in "the publication agreement" of her forthcoming book, as well as receive copies of Heche's financial records and file personal tax returns on her behalf. The court documents also state that Homer is now able to "commence and maintain or defend" suits and other legal proceedings.
It remains to be seen what, if any, legal actions or disputes may arise during the administration process. Last month, the estate was already sued for $2 million by the woman whose home was destroyed as a result of the fiery car crash. Our gut also tells us that James might not be done with his allegations and his desire to profit from his ex-partner’s estate, which once again underscores the importance of having proper estate planning in place.