Estate planning: the realization of personal, important decisions

Among the most personal and important decisions a person can make in life is how they want to raise their children. An infinite variety of good parenting techniques, styles and philosophies exist. They are all linked by a parent’s undying love for their kids, however.

The problem is that life itself is not undying. It ends. And when it does, the choices parents make live on in their children. For celebrate actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of his choices in life was to decline to set up with his estate planning attorney a trust for his three children.

Hoffman reportedly did not want his 10-year-old son, and his daughters, ages 7 and 5, to grow up as “trust fund kids.” The attorney appointed as guardian for the children said he remembers talking with the late actor’s accountant, who had spoken with Hoffman about a trust fund for the children.

The attorney said he had also brought up the subject with the actor who died at 46 of a drug overdose, but the Oscar winner was always adamant. Hoffman said that his longtime partner and mother of the children would take care of the kids.

Though the couple never married, they had joint financial accounts typical of married couples. Hoffman left his entire estate, estimated earlier this year to be worth $35 million, to the woman he treated “as if she were a spouse.”

Hoffman’s wishes will be carried out, which is really the goal of careful, thoughtful estate planning. There is no one path everyone should follow. Instead, attorneys experienced in estate planning and estate administration work to provide clients with the legal tools needed to have goals achieved. 

Source:, "Philip Seymour Hoffman did not want his children to become ‘trust fund kids’: attorney," Barbara Ross, July 21, 2014

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