Another Celebrity Dies Without a Plan

Over the years, I’ve told you about lots of celebrities who died without an estate plan and how much their heirs lost because of estate taxes; Aretha Franklin-$27.5 million; Prince-$60 million; Elvis-73% of the estate at the time of his death.

Now, another celebrity has died with no estate plan and the results will, no doubt, be just as detrimental to her heirs. Anne Heche, the 53-year-old actress who died August 11, 2022, as a result of a fiery car crash, had no Will, no Trust, nothing that would pass her multi-million-dollar estate on to her two sons, Homer Laffoon and Atlas Tupper.

According to court documents, Heche’s 20-year-old son, Homer Laffoon, has filed a petition with a Los Angeles County judge asking to be put in charge of his late mother’s estate. The petition says, “The estate consists of two (2) intestate heirs—Homer Heche Laffoon and Atlat Heche Tupper. Homer Heche Laffoon is an adult and the proposed Administrator. Atlas Heche Tupper is a minor. Filed concurrently with this petition is a Petition for Appointment of guardian ad Litem for the minor, which specifically requests that the guardian ad litem be granted the authority to waive bond on behalf of the minor.”

Unfortunately, the family is unclear about how much money and property the actress had at the time of her death. The court filing lists Heche’s personal property and her annual income as “unknown.”

Individuals who die in 2022 are allowed an estate tax exemption of $12.06 million dollars. Anything above that, the estate tax is graduated from 18%-39% on the first $1 million and 40% on everything after that. So, if Heche’s estate is under $12.06 million, her boys may get a sizable inheritance. If it’s more than $12.06 million the IRS will get a sizable chunk of the remainder.

Even if you’re estate isn’t large enough to pay estate taxes, there are still takeaways from the Anne Heche story:


  • Having an estate plan eliminates court involvement in selecting an administrator, executor, or trustee. You’ve already named people you trust to fill those positions in your estate documents.
  • Having an estate plan allows you to choose who you want to take care of any minor children rather than leaving it to chance and hoping the court makes a good decision.
  • An estate plan allows you to decide how and when your heirs receive money, especially if they are inexperienced with money or are spendthrifts and not capable of handling money.


Other advantages of having an estate plan include:

  • Definitive instructions for caring for a surviving spouse
  • Making clear your instructions for distribution of your estate, thus avoiding as much family conflict as possible.
  • Specific arrangements for the care of a disabled heir
  • Assigning specific assets to specific heirs. In the case of a family business, you may choose to leave it to one family member who’s interested in the business, rather than splitting ownership between several family members who could care less.
  • Defining your charitable intentions
  • Keeping details of your estate settlement private so no one can go to the courthouse and find out who got what.


A well-constructed estate plan allows you, as Frank Sinatra sang, “To do it my way,” rather than leave things to chance. You don’t want your family saying, “Oh, Dad would be rolling over in his grave if he knew what was going on!” That would mean terrible trouble that could have been avoided.



This article is presented as information only and should not be considered tax, legal or financial advice.

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