Unfortunately, James Gandolfini, the movie actor famous for a number of roles, including in the series The Soprano’s, has left a multi-million dollar estate, estimated at a worth of approximately 70 million dollars and used only a simple Will. There was no Estate Tax Planning and with the Will all of his assets will be forced through Probate Court. This resulted in the IRS becoming the biggest beneficiary under his poorly done Estate Plan.
James Gandolfini used a Simple Will leaving certain assets to certain individuals, his wife, and his children from a prior marriage. There was no Estate Tax planning done, which would have easily saved tens of millions of dollars in Estate Taxes.
Also he is forcing all of his assets through the Probate Court, which causes time delays, and unnecessary expense. For example in North Carolina, the Court Costs (this is a combination of Administrative Fees and State Taxes) would be up to $6,000.00 per person. Additionally, the Attorney’s Fees on Probates are normally 5-7% of the value of the Estate Assets. If there was a conservative 5% in attorney fees, the attorney fee could easily be $3.5 million dollars. Normal time delay is 18 to 24 months. A bigger estate, such as Mr. Gandolfini’s, could take much longer. Also the State has its own Estate Taxes on top of the Federal Estate Taxes.
If Mr. Gandolfini had used a Living Trust based Estate Plan, and all of his assets were titled in the name of the Living Trust, he would have at least skipped the Probate Court which would have saved him the $6,000.00 and cost his estate millions less than $3.5 million dollars in additional administrative fees.
With some basic Estate Tax Planning millions could have been saved as opposed to sending it to the IRS. Unfortunately a “Simple Will” is not a good idea with anyone who has any kind of assets, let alone millions, or a blended family. It’s better than nothing, but there was not good Estate Planning done here.
At the Law Firm of Steven Andrew Jackson, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, we have helped hundreds of families protect themselves and their loved ones, avoid Estate Taxes and Probate Costs, and keep their Estate Plans current with the law through The Customized Protective Estate Planning Solution™.