A battle over Anne Heche’s estate has begun.
In the wake of the Six Days Seven Nights actress’ Aug. 11 death, her family is sorting out everything that she left behind, and there’s already a heated dispute over who should be in charge and get what.
Heche left behind two sons from two relationships — her 20-year-old son Homer Laffoon, with ex-husband Coley Laffoon, and 13-year-old Atlas Tupper, from her relationship with her Men in Trees co-star James Tupper. While Homer requested to serve as special administrator of Heche’s estate late last month, with it noted Heche didn’t have a will, James, on behalf of his minor son Atlas, is now contesting Homer’s appointment.
Yahoo Entertainment has obtained the court document filed by James on Thursday objecting to Homer as special administrator. In it, James claims Heche sent him a will on Jan. 25, 2011, when they were still a couple, and asked him to oversee her estate “in case I die tomorrow.” He also outlines numerous reasons why he feels Homer is not equipped for the job, including that he lacks expertise, is unemployed and was estranged from Heche when she died.
In the filing is an email James said was sent from Heche’s email to himself as well as entertainment attorney Kevin Yorn and his executive assistant. It had the subject “Will” and in it she asked it to serve as her word until final papers were drawn up. She requested should she die, her assets go to James with the intent for him to raise the boys on her behalf, dividing her assets among them equally. She noted each get control of their portion of the money at age 25, and at that time could sell her real estate and split the money. (Heche seemingly never filed an actual will. She and Tupper split in 2018 after 10 years, but continued to share a home for the next year along with the two boys.)
In the filing, James’s lawyer says that James should have “priority of appointment as administrator” because Heche “makes her intent clear by writing that, ‘My wishes are that all of my assets go to the control of Mr. James Tupper to be used to raise my children and then given to the children.'”
James’s legal team argues there’s “no urgent need to appoint a special administrator at this time” in the first place as Homer’s filing was trying to speed up the process. Instead, they should wait for the appointment of an executor or administrator under a general probate petition. He then outlines, bluntly, why he claims Homer is “not suitable for appointment as personal representative of this estate,” a job he says should go to someone with “experience and sophistication.”
“He is only 20 years of age and is unemployed, and was estranged from [Heche] at the time of her death due to his dropping out of university studies and not working to support himself,” James’s filing states.
James goes on to claim that Homer changed the locks on Heche’s apartment, where Atlas resided with his mother, and “refused entry” to his half-brother. He says Homer “has not responded to Atlas’s request for his clothing and computer” at Heche’s home. He also questions Homer listing Heche’s residence as “vacant” in his court filing, saying it was “concerning” because the actress’s home “was full of her furnishings, jewelry, valuables, files and records, and their removal was in no way authorized by this Court of the law.”
He also says Homer agreed to go to grief counseling with Atlas but was a no-show. He also says Homer was a no-show at a scheduled dinner with Atlas waiting around for 1.5 hours.
“This is particularly upsetting given that Atlas is 13 years old, was with his mother on the day of her death, and he has reached out to Homer repeatedly,” the filing states. “In fact, since their mother’s death, Homer has not seen his brother, nor had contact with him.” As a result, James is concerned Homer “will not act in his brother’s best interest.”
James also denies Homer’s court claim that James sent him “negative communications.” He says, “Both [James] and Atlas have only communicated messages of support and love and grieving to Homer. At this time they both think the presence of an older brother would be an enormously helpful relationship for both Atlas and Homer.”
Earlier this month it was reported Homer requested control of the estate because Heche died without a will and she has pending projects, including the publication of her book, call me Anne, next year. Homer’s attorney clarified at the time that Homer was in the process of “having a third party appointed ‘guardian ad litm’ for his younger brother, Atlas, to represent Atlas’s interests in the probate proceedings.”
Homer also spoke out on behalf of himself and his sibling after Heche, who was brain dead, was taken off life support.
“My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom,” he said in a statement. “After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness. Hopefully my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom. Over those six days, thousands of friends, family, and fans made their hearts known to me. I am grateful for their love, as I am for the support of my Dad, Coley, and my stepmom Alexi who continue to be my rock during this time. love you, Homer.”
On Aug. 5, Heche crashed her car into a house in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles — a fire erupted and she was critically injured. Blood tests showed the 53-year-old had narcotics in her system. Six days later, she was removed from life support after being declared brain dead. She died of inhalation, thermal injuries and a sternal fracture due to blunt trauma, according to the medical examiner’s official report.
After Heche’s most famous relationship — with Ellen DeGeneres — ended in 2000, she started dating Laffoon, a cameraman she met making a documentary about DeGeneres. They married in 2001, had Homer in 2002, and split in 2007. Heche went on to embark on a romance with her co-star James. They had Atlas in 2009 and remained together until 2018, sharing a home for a year after their split with her sons.