Even the Rich and Famous Fail to Plan Properly

Philip Seymour Hoffman obviously had several demons involved in his life before its tragic premature ending, and maybe updating his estate plan wasn't at the top of his list.  However, the legacy he left his family and friends is probably not one that he would have wanted.  It does, however, give this trusts and estates lawyer an opportunity to demonstrate how each of us can learn from PSH's errors (besides not doing drugs).

As reported in Forbes, PSH's will was signed after his first-born, but was not updated when his next two children were born.  Now, like in NY, the laws will typically provide some protection for "after born heirs" (those kids born after a will) but with some missing language in PSH's, plus some other problems, the issue will not be clearly determined until the court's get involved.

In Iowa, a child born after the execution of a will and which they are not provided for under the provisions of the will, will receive the amount they would have received if their parent had died without a will (intestate) pursuant to the provisions under Iowa Code § 633.267.  However, what if you have specific requirements, conditions and provisions for the children.  If they are receiving their inheritance under § 633.267, then those same provisions may not apply and the kids will be subject to different provisions.

What lessons can we learn?
(1)  Periodically review your will and other estate plan documents - adding a child, grandchild or other family member is a logical change justifying a review and update.
(2) Include specific language in your estate planning documents to reference subsequently born children.
(3)  Don't do drugs.

Matthew Gardner


Great blog post. I really like how you point out that wills must be updated when someone has a major life-changing event. I especially like #3:Do not do drugs!! Thank you for sharing!
Louise Williams said…
Estate planning is a worthy option that all types of people should consider especially those who want to protect the future of their loved-ones. Rich people should take time to plan their assets no matter how busy they are. For sure, it will be very unfortunate if the results of their hard work end in the hands of wrong people.

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