Some estate planning mistakes made by the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman turned out to be costly. His estate planning mistakes were not marrying the mother of his three children and not working with an estate planning attorney, according to a Kiplinger in "Philip Seymour Hoffman's $12 Million Estate Planning Mistake."
Hoffman’s decisions not to marry his girlfriend Mimi, who is the mother of his three children, resulted in the estate not having the benefit of an unlimited marital deduction, which reportedly cost his family $12 million in estate taxes alone.
According to the article, Hoffman despised what he called "trust fund kids" and did not want his children to head down that route.
Unfortunately, this aversion caused Hoffman to forgo hiring an estate planning attorney, in favor of an accountant who created a will for him.
The will left his $35 million estate to his girlfriend.
Hoffman should have considered visiting with an estate planning attorney, who could have explained the consequences of Hoffman’s circumstances while he was still alive.
Hoffman could have told the attorney about his fears. He could have had the attorney design a specific estate plan to use the unlimited marital deduction with incentive trusts to ensure that the Hoffman children would be less likely to become trust fund dependents. Instead, if his children’s mother does not have the same aversion as did Hoffman towards “trust fund kids,” that is precisely what his children may become after (if not before) their mother passes away.
An estate planning attorney can advise you in creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances.
Reference: Kiplinger (July, 2017) "Philip Seymour Hoffman's $12 Million Estate Planning Mistake."