Mr. Hoffman and his partner Marianne O’Donnell were not married, but the actor left his estate, which reports pegged at about $35 million, to her directly. Per the will, if Ms. O’Donnell renounces or disclaims any portion of the inheritance, that amount will go to a trust fund that’s held in the name of his son and eldest child, Cooper Hoffman, who was only a year old when Mr. Hoffman signed the will. Mr. Hoffman and Ms. O’Donnell had two daughters in the years after the will was drafted, one in 2006 and the other in 2008. The document does not account for them.
Lesson: Experts agree certain provisions could’ve been added to the will to better protect the estate from taxes. “He should’ve left the assets in trust to Ms. O’Donnell instead of outright because by leaving them to her outright, it’ll get taxed at his death and again at her death,” said Steven J. Oshins, an estate planning attorney at Oshins & Associates. “You never want to leave assets outright to someone who is on the same generational level as you.”