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Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman declined trust fund for kids

The will of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, currently in probate in New York, leaves everything to the mother of his three children. According to those close to him, Hoffman did not want his children to be trust fund children. While Hoffman and his children's mother were not married, their relationship was described as being like a marriage. Hoffman wrote the will in 2004 when he had only a one-year-old son, but according to his accountant, as recently as one year ago, he reinforced his belief that he did not want to set aside a trust for his children.

His will did contain a provision for a trust for the oldest son in the event that his son's mother was also deceased. Hoffman's will contained another provision in the event of his children losing both their parents. He left instructions that if a guardian were appointed, his son should be raised in an atmosphere of arts and culture. He specified Manhattan, Chicago and San Francisco as his choice of cities where his son should ideally be brought up. Barring this possibility, Hoffman requested that his son visit those places at least twice a year.

According to a report filed by the lawyer appointed to represent the children's interests, Hoffman's lawyer and accountant repeatedly recommended that he create a trust, but Hoffman declined to do so. The children's lawyer recommended acceptance of the will.

Hoffman's case indicates the importance for an individual of making sure that any unusual decisions such as cutting out heirs or declining a trust when it makes logical financial sense should be backed up with explicit expressions of one's wishes. In this case, Hoffman's statements made his intentions clear and may serve to expedite the probate process.

Source: CNN, "Philip Seymour Hoffman didn't want 'trust fund kids,' court docs show", Alan Duke, July 22, 2014

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