Is there a chance Anne Heche’s ex-boyfriend will win his case with her son regarding her estate? One legal expert doesn’t seem to think so!
Ever since the actress tragically passed away from a fatal car crash in August, a nasty legal battle has been unfolding between her ex James Tupper and her son Homer Laffoon over who gets control of her assets. The 20-year-old filed a petition to become the executor of the estate, as well as the guardian ad litem over his little brother, Atlas Heche Tupper — James’ son. Following the initial filing, James fired back and claimed Anne had named him as the executor of her estate in an email sent on January 15, 2011. However, Homer pushed back on the legitimacy of that declaration since the will was not physically signed, and did “not have two witnesses who signed the document during [her] lifetime.” Not to mention the fact it was over a decade old…
It has been a complicated situation, and there is no clue how the courts will decide between the family members. But according to a family law expert, it sounds like James might not have legal ground regarding this issue! LA family law attorney Atousa Saei told People on Thursday that Homer has an advantage in legal proceedings with the 57-year-old actor, saying:
“I really think that Tupper is just going to be kind of faded out of this whole situation. I think he’s the father of a minor who stands to inherit from his mother, and I think that’s really going to be the extent of his involvement here. I don’t think that the court’s going to find that he’s a valid — that he’s the executor of it, of the estate.”
She also noted that it is unlikely James will become the guardian ad litem of Atlas even though he is his biological father, adding:
“I also don’t think the court is likely to award him as the [guardian ad litem] here. Because remember, if the court does need to appoint someone as the GAL, the court can just appoint a neutral. It doesn’t have to be him.”
On Tuesday, Homer actually filed an opposition against James’ request to become the guardian ad litem of the 13-year-old. In case you didn’t know, it essentially gives someone the right to decide what is in the best interest of the child when it comes to legal matters. If James became the guardian ad litem of Atlas, it would theoretically give him some control over Anne’s estate through his son. Referencing Britney Spears’ controversial conservatorship, Atousa explained:
“Sometimes, as we saw in the Britney Spears case, the guardian ad litem in representing the best interest of the incapacitated party might report back to the court things that are completely, completely different than what that incapacitated party wants.”
That wasn’t the only legal filing the two adversaries made this week! On Monday, James submitted documents asking for Homer to be removed as the temporary executor of the estate, stating:
“In order to preserve family harmony and a healthy, brotherly relationship between ATLAS and HOMER, and given the complexity this estate will foreseeably involve – i.e. intellectual property and publishing issues, possibly third party claims, and public relations issues – a bonded, neutral, private professional fiduciary would be a more appropriate administrator.”
Homer then responded, demanding James not be given any involvement with Anne’s estate since the two were not in a relationship when she died. In the legal filing, he noted a potential “conflict of interest” over the guardian ad litem position since James had been a father figure to Homer and Atlas, which could become a problem if he is “ever forced to side with one child against the other.” The doc continued:
“Dependent upon Mr. Tupper’s intentions and actions regarding these funds, it may be necessary for the Estate to institute legal proceedings against Mr. Tupper for the ultimate benefit of [Atlas]. As such, Mr. Tupper has an actual conflict of interest with [Atlas] regarding these funds.”
Basically, this conflict of interest could potentially lead to a lawsuit from the estate to remove him as a beneficiary. Atousa said:
“[Laffoon] raises up something interesting where he said, ‘Had they been married, during the divorce process, that would’ve been handled, but because they weren’t married, it’s like an oversight on her end where she just failed to change the beneficiaries of some of her accounts.’ So now he’s got the money and they pointed to that as a direct conflict of interest in being appointed a guardian ad litem because they were saying that the estate may actually have to go sue him.”
As for the electronic will? The email that James provided in a previous filing that stated Anne wanted him as the executor of her estate? Atousa ultimately believes it won’t be considered valid in court:
“I think it fails in more than one area. It’s not just that it’s electronic, but it’s also because you don’t have a valid signature, you don’t have witnesses and so forth.”
So it sounds like there is a strong possibility James might not get his wishes if he and Homer continue this legal battle! What do YOU think should happen, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments below.
[Image via WENN/Avalon, Anne Heche/Instagram]
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