Battle over Anne Heche’s estate rages on; Tony Freeman, Rose Law Group senior counsel who handles asset protection and estate planning, outlines requirements of a valid will

By Bernie Zilio | Page Six

The battle over Anne Heche’s estate is far from over.

Heche’s oldest son, Homer Laffoon, filed new court documents this week opposing the validity of a 2011 email his mother allegedly sent ex-boyfriend James Tupper appointing him executor of her estate.

The 20-year-old insists that the email “fails to satisfy the legal requirements for a valid formal witnessed will” because it “was not signed by [Heche] and does not have two witnesses who signed the document during [her] lifetime.”

“Mr. Tupper repeatedly refers to the email … as a ‘will.’ However — as a matter of law — the email does not qualify as either a holographic will or formal witnessed will,” he wrote in his filing, which was obtained by Page Six.

Therefore, Laffoon claims he is “the person with the highest priority of appointment” and is “legally entitled to appointment as administrator.”

Anne Heche’s oldest son, Homer Laffoon, is opposing the validity of a “will” his mother allegedly sent her then-boyfriend, James Tupper, via email in 2011.Getty Images for Christian Siria

Additionally, he alleges that it “was not uncommon” for his mother “to send emails such as the one attached … when she was faced with uncertainty. In fact, [Heche] sent a similar email to her bookkeeper on April 7, 2020, after [she] contracted COVID-19.”

“This document, which fails to qualify as a will on the same basis as the email … makes no reference whatsoever to Mr. Tupper, which is not surprising given their acrimonious breakup in 2018,” Laffoon argues.

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“While technology moves forward, the underpinnings of the probate code remain steadfast. A formal will usually requires both notarization of the individual’s signature and separate witnesses for the signing. Some states allow holographic wills, which typically consist of a handwritten document identified as a will and signed by the individual. Without a will, state statutes govern disposition via intestate succession. If you want to control where your assets go on death, it is important to properly document those wishes in compliance with your state requirements.  Although email, texts and other electronic communications are the norm for communicating in everyday living, it remains to be seen whether they will ever be accepted by the courts as satisfying the requirements for a will.”

Tony Freeman, Senior Counsel Rose Law Group

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