A bitter family feud has developed over control of the estate of actress Anne Heche and who will be the legal guardian of her 13-year-old son.
Heche, who died in August after a fiery accident, left behind two children — Homer Laffoon, 20, whose father was Heche’s ex-husband Coleman Laffoon, and Atlas Heche Tupper, her son by James Tupper, according to Page Six.
Laffoon has filed to be his younger half-brother’s legal guardian and so has Tupper.
On Tuesday, Laffoon said naming Tupper as the 13-year-old’s guardian “would actually harm the interests of [Atlas],” according to People.
Tupper is “precluded from serving as the minor’s guardian ad litem based on several actual and potential conflicts of interest,” the filing said.
“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,” Laffoon’s filing said.
Laffoon’s filing was in response to one from Tupper that said, “Atlas [sic] prefers a bonded, neutral, private, professional fiduciary be selected to administer the subject estate. As a minor, Atlas has no ability to hire legal representation to represent his interests in these proceedings.”
Tupper “is Atlas’ father and only living parent. James loves both Homer and Atlas as a father and wants the best for them both,” the filing said.
“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,” Tupper’s filing said.
As part of the dispute, Laffoon said Tupper is interfering with his efforts to contact his half-brother, according to People.
The dispute is part of a wider battle over Heche’s will.
Tupper claims Heche wanted him to be the executor of her will, according to Page Six.
“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,” he claimed she wrote in the will.
Laffoon said a document Tupper claims is a will is not legally valid as one, according to People.
A Sept. 27 court filing said, “Mr. Tupper repeatedly refers to the email attached to the objection as a ‘will.’ However — as a matter of law — the email does not qualify as either a holographic will or formal witnessed will.”
“The email fails to satisfy the legal requirements for a valid holographic will because the material provisions of the purported will are not in the handwriting of the Decedent. A will is valid as a holographic will, whether or not it is witnessed, if the signature and the material provisions are in the handwriting of the testator.”
“The email presented to the Court as decedent’s ‘will’ by Mr. Tupper fails to meet the requirements for a valid holographic will because the signature and material provisions are not in the handwriting of the decedent. The email fails to satisfy the legal requirements for a valid formal witnessed will because the email was not signed by the decedent and does not have two witnesses who signed the document during the lifetime of the decedent,” Laffoon’s filing said.
Laffoon wants to administer Heche’s estate. Tupper is opposing that and has claimed that Laffoon was estranged from Heche when she died.
Laffoon called the allegation “inaccurate and unfounded.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.