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Anne Heche Estate War Looms as Ex Claims She Left Him in Charge, Not ‘Estranged’ Son

Rolling Stone 9/16/2022 Nancy Dillon
© FilmMagic

A battle is brewing over the estate of Anne Heche, the Six Days, Seven Nights actress who died from inhalation and thermal injuries suffered in a fiery car crash last month.

Heche’s ex-boyfriend James Tupper, the father of her 13-year-old son Atlas Heche Tupper, filed a probate petition Thursday objecting to her 20-year-old soon Homer Heche Laffoon’s Aug. 31 bid to be named executor of her estate.

Tupper, who was with Heche from 2007 to 2018, says the actress “wrote and sent her will via email” to him and two other people on January 25, 2011. He says Heche specifically nominated him to handle her affairs.

“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,” Heche allegedly wrote.

Tupper, 57, says the court should honor Heche’s final wishes and deny Laffoon’s petition, which inaccurately said she died intestate. He questioned both Laffoon’s ability to carry out the task and his motives.

“Homer is not suitable for appointment as personal representative of this estate. He is only 20 years of age and is unemployed, and was estranged from [Heche] at the time of her death due to his dropping out of university studies and not working to support himself,” Tupper’s petition filed by his lawyer Christopher B. Johnson states.

“The administrator role requires someone with more experience and sophistication, as the estate assets require management and collection by someone with the required expertise. Homer’s lack of assets and income also means he will be unable to obtain a bond, and in fact his petition asks that no bond be posted, which is unacceptable to [Tupper],” the filing says.

According to Tupper, Laffoon failed to show up for a grief counseling session with his younger brother after their mom’s death and also skipped a planned dinner with Atlas and Tupper on Aug. 25, leaving the pair waiting 90 minutes for him at a restaurant.

“This is particularly upsetting given that Atlas is 13 years old, was with his mother on the day of her death, and he has reached out to Homer repeatedly. In fact, since their mother’s death, Homer has not seen his brother, nor had contact with him. It concerns objector that in light of this behavior, Homer will not act in his brother’s best interest,” Tupper’s petition says.

“Objector Tupper helped raise these boys from a very early age, and cares deeply for their well-being. It is his desire that they achieve a fair and good result from these proceedings, which is his sole purpose in filing these objections,” the filing states.

The petition says Tupper’s first choice is to hire a private professional fiduciary to manage the estate, but he also would helm it himself. Either way, he said there’s no “urgent need” to appoint a special administrator on an emergency basis.

He said the release of Heche’s upcoming memoir Call Me Anne wasn’t a basis to rush anything because it’s not dropping until January 24, 2023. The book, a sequel to her 2001 memoir Call Me Crazy, is due from New Jersey-based publisher Start. In an excerpt shared with the Associated Press, Heche described her relationship with Ellen DeGeneres.

“I did not, personally, identify as a lesbian. I simply fell in love! It was, to be clear, as odd to me as anyone else. There were no words to describe how I felt,” Heche wrote. “Gay didn’t feel right, and neither did straight. Alien might be the best fit, I sometimes thought. What, why, and how I fell in love with a person instead of their gender, I would have loved to have answered if anyone had asked, but as I said earlier, no one ever did. I am happy that I was able to tell you in this book — once and for all.”

Once an estate administrator is named, that person will have the authority to collect, inventory, appraise and manage Heche’s assets after her untimely death in the aftermath of the horrific crash.

Laffoon’s filing, obtained by Rolling Stone, says the value of his mom’s estate remains “unknown.” His lawyer, Bryan L. Phipps, said in a statement that Laffoon was in the process of having a third party appointed as a guardian ad litem for his younger brother.

A hearing in the probate case is set for Oct. 11.

Heche, 53, was declared brain dead last month but remained on life support for several days in order to donate her organs, her family said at the time.

“Anne had a huge heart and touched everyone she met with her generous spirit. More than her extraordinary talent, she saw spreading kindness and joy as her life’s work – especially moving the needle for acceptance of who you love,” a statement from her family sent to Rolling Stone said. “She will be remembered for her courageous honesty and dearly missed for her light.”

A week before her death, Heche, 53, drove her car at a high speed into a one-story residence in Los Angeles’ Mar Vista neighborhood.

“The car did leave the roadway at the T intersection and went up over the curb. It was airborne before it went into the house and was approximately 30 feet inside the small home when it came to a rest,” Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey previously told Rolling Stone.

Heche was rushed from the scene of the wild crash in critical condition. “The home was well-involved in fire,” Humphrey said. “One woman who was home was at the back of the home and thankfully and miraculously escaped injury.”

Los Angeles Police Officer Matthew Cruz later confirmed to Rolling Stone that detectives were able to test some of Heche’s blood via a search warrant. “The result does show narcotics,” he said. “We still need additional testing to tell if anything administered at the hospital is showing up in her system.”

A final autopsy report is still pending the results of toxicology testing that could take weeks, officials said.

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