Emmy Award-winner Anne Heche left behind no will when she died in August after a a fiery car crash in Los Angeles at age 53, and now the punch-up over her estate is in full swing.
Facing off for Heche’s estate, the value of which is unclear, are her eldest son, 20-year-old Homer Laffoon, and her ex-partner James Tupper, with whom she had another son with and who she informally entrusted with her estate via email over ten years ago.
In September, Laffoon filed a request to be appointed in charge of the estate, according to Us Weekly. Additionally, Laffoon requested to be appointed guardian of his half-brother Atlas Tupper’s share of the estate. Laffoon filed the petition in August and a court appointed him as “special administrator” of the estate on Sept. 15.
“A special administrator only has the power to keep the estate open and to start counting up the assets, David Glass, a family law attorney to ABC7. “The special administrator does not have the power to start transferring or selling assets.”
In response to Laffoon’s filing, 13-year-old Atlas and his father James filed paperwork challenging the request. The senior Tupper said that Heche previously entrusted him to preside over her estate, citing a 2011 email.
“FYI In case I die tomorrow and anyone asks,” the alleged email from Heche reads, “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. They will be divided equally among our children, currently Homer Heche Laffoon and Atlas Heche Tupper, and their portion given to each when they are the age of 25. When the last child turns 25 any house or other properties owned may be sold and the money divided equally among our children.”
Tupper is also asking the court to name a third party fiduciary as the executor “or in the alternative name his as executor,” according to ABC7. In the filing, Tupper also argued that Laffoon is not “suitable” to be in charge of Heche’s estate or the interests of his younger brother, citing Laffoon’s own age and the fact that he is unemployed. He also pointed out that Laffoon was estranged from his mother at the time of her death.
The filing further alleges that Laffoon changed the locks on his mother’s home on the day of her death, which prevented half-brother Atlas from reacquiring his possessions.
Laffoon’s side says their evidence stands on its own.
“We prefer to see the estate administration play out in court and not in the media, as our legal documents speak for themselves,” Laffoon’s attorney, Bryan Phipps, told ABC in a statement. “The court appointing Homer special administrator last week supports that decision.”
A hearing to decide who should control the estate—be it Laffoon, Tupper, or a third party—is scheduled for October 11.