Academy Award winning actor, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, passed away early this month after an apparent drug overdose in NYC. He was only 46 years old. Hoffman leaves behind three young children, his long time girlfriend, Mimi O’Donnell, and a fortune estimated at 35 million dollars.
The fact is that these circumstances could be a recipe for an estate planning disaster. You have a sudden and unexpected death presumably due to drug abuse, a multi-million dollar estate, a girlfriend (not a wife), and minor children…we can only hope that Hoffman had a current and iron-clad estate plan.
When you have a child, it is important to begin planning who would take care of them in your absence and how they would be taken care of. Furthermore, in cases where parents are not officially married, additional planning is usually required to prevent a messy probate and inheritance situation that could potentially last for years and end up leaving a surviving partner empty handed.
If proper planning was done, it’s likely that most of the money from Hoffman’s estate will go O'Donnell and their three shared children. Perhaps some of it will go to charity. We will have to wait and see how the story unfolds.