Why Philip Seymour Hoffman Didn't Leave His Fortune to His Children

Philip Seymour Hoffman (Getty Images)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Getty Images)

Philip Seymour Hoffman did everything in his power to make sure his children were "normal."

When the Capote actor died of a heroin overdose in February, he left the bulk of his estate to his partner, Mimi O'Donnell, and added the unusual request that their offspring be raised outside of Los Angeles. According to his accountant, David Friedman, these decisions were made to keep his children from becoming trust fund kids.

In court papers filed July 18 in Manhattan Surrogate's Court and obtained by the New York Post, attorney James Cahill Jr. — who was appointed by the court to protect the interests of Hoffman’s children Cooper, 10, Tallulah, 7, and Willa, 5 in his estate proceeding — interviewed the actor's accountant as part of the legal process. Friedman "recalled conversations with [Hoffman] in the year before his demise where the topic of a trust was raised for the kids and summarily rejected by him," Cahill wrote, according to the newspaper. He "did not want his children to be considered 'trust fund' kids."

[Related: Philip Seymour Hoffman's Life as a New Yorker]

Friedman said he wanted his estate — which was an estimated $35 million, according to Forbes magazine — to go to O'Donnell because he knew she would "take care of the children."

While he was living apart from O'Donnell at his time of death — residing in an apartment a few blocks away from their family home, reportedly due to his drug problem — "Friedman also advised that he observed Hoffman treating his partner/girlfriend ... in the same manner as if she were a spouse," Cahill reported. And Hoffman told Friedman that the reason they never married was simply that he "did not believe in marriage." However, "The size and nature of the jointly held assets support the position that [Hoffman] regarded [O’Donnell] as the natural object of his bounty," Cahill wrote.

Hoffman with son Cooper at a Knicks game in 2012. (Getty Images)
Hoffman with son Cooper at a Knicks game in 2012. (Getty Images)

As we reported in February when the will was submitted, Hoffman asked that Cooper (his only child at the time the document was written) be "raised and reside in" Manhattan, Chicago, or San Francisco. "The purpose of this request is so that my son will be exposed to the culture, arts and architecture that such cities offer."

Hoffman also set up a trust for Cooper, but stipulated that it only be used for "education, support, health, and maintenance." O'Donnell is the trustee. According to the document, Cooper will get half of the trust when he's 25, and the rest when he's 30.

The actor's latest film, A Most Wanted Man, opened on Friday.