The entire world was stunned at the tragic news of the untimely death of James Gandolfini. The estate planning community was even more stunned to find out about his estate planning. First, the fact that this information is public knowledge tells us that he had a Will rather than a Living Trust. A Last Will ends up being a public document while a Trust is private.
The New York Daily News reported that Gandolfini's estate is estimated to be worth $70 million, 80% of which he left to his sisters and his 9 month old daughter. Because Gandolfini did not leave any portion of this to his wife, the 80% of the $70 million is subject to estate taxes. This will result in a tax bill of over $30 million due in cash to the IRS, in 9 months.
There are a number of planning tools that could have been implemented to either, significantly reduce, eliminate or delay those estate taxes. Talking about death and taxes is not enjoyable and is easily procrastinated, but while we all might not have the type of estate like James Gandolfini's, his case does illustrate the importance of proper estate planning.
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The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down. The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.