Dennis Hopper had accumulated an estate worth about $40 million dollars due to major roles in a number of movies including his famous role in Easy Rider. He wanted to leave his fortune to everyone in his family except his current wife (which was number five).
Hopper’s fifth wife, Victoria Duffy-Hopper, was six years younger than Hopper’s oldest daughter. The road to this scenario of freezing out his current wife is long and ugly. Major points in the story include:
- Hopper divorces his first four wives, although he has multiple children by them.
- Hopper marries his fifth wife, Victoria Duffy, who is younger than each of his children by previous marriages. He and Duffy give birth to a daughter.
- The relationships begins to sour and everything heads downhill. Dennis Hopper accuses his current wife of being “insane, inhuman, and volatile”. After filing for divorce, he obtains a restraining order against Duffy. She complicates the issue by refusing to move.
- Unfortunately, the situation moves from bad to worse. Victoria Duffy-Hopper makes the claim that Hopper has become mentally incompetent. Next, she claims that Hopper’s adult children from other marriages have pressured him to divorce her and cut her and their shared six-year-old daughter from the estate.
- In the middle of all the acrimony, Hopper died of cancer at age 73.
While Dennis Hopper died without seeing the end result of the court struggle, he did make some moves along the way to make sure that his adult children received most of his estate. The steps he made would be smart moves for anyone to take.
Don’t Wait To Update Your Estate Plan!
Hopper made a number of official changes to his estate plan before his divorce was even final.
- He changed the designated beneficiary of his life insurance policy
- He made sure that his current wife, Victoria, was not listed as a beneficiary in either his will or his trust
- He ensured that his prenuptial agreement was in good order
Ultimately, Duffy sued Hopper’s estate for as much as possible. She eventually settled with his estate, but she got far less than she was hoping. This was because of the actions taken by Hopper to ensure that his estate went to his children. The moral of the story is . . . don’t wait to update your estate planning details. Call us today and put the details in place that you want.
Changes may need to be made to your plans and your documents when significant events occur in your life. These events could include a marriage, a divorce, a re-marriage, a birth, a change in residency, an adoption, a significant change in income, or a significant change in the situation of a beneficiary.
Even if you have not experienced any of these events, changes in estate planning law may make a change to your plan a prudent thing to do.