LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A court battle is forming over the estate of Anne Heche, with her oldest son and one of her ex-boyfriends vying for control in a probate hearing.
A judge determined Tuesday that Heche's 20-year-old son Homer Laffoon will remain administrator of the late actress's estate despite a petition by James Tupper, Heche's ex-boyfriend and father of her 13-year-old son Atlas.
Tupper wanted the judge to declare him guardian ad litum for Atlas, which would give him certain powers to represent the boy. The judge, however, declined that request, saying Laffoon is qualified to act as sole administrator and that "in the state of California, a person can be illiterate and still be considered qualified."
"He (Tupper) would have to prove that there is some form of fraud, neglect, waste, mismanagement, embezzlement or he is incapacitated to take the position of the administrator," explained family law attorney Atousa Saei.
Heche died in a fiery car wreck in August of this year and apparently didn't leave any written will or trust concerning her estate.
"This is a bit surprising because most people who have a lot of assets, are sophisticated, they will at the bare minimum have a trust for all their estate so that they can avoid probate altogether," Saei told Eyewitness News.
Tupper, who was with Heche for roughly seven years, has also claimed that the actress emailed him 11 years ago, asking him to handle her affairs and take care of her sons should something happen to her. The judge has not addressed that part of the case yet, but Saei is unsure Tupper will prevail.
"I don't think its going to work because it was nothing more than an email," said Saei. "So it's not in her handwriting, and who knows - Tupper may have sent it himself."
Tupper and Laffoon are due back in court Nov. 30.