The actor James Gandolfini died recently at the age of 51. He made his mark playing the unforgettable role of Tony Soprano, and he will certainly be missed by his family, friends, and legion of fans.
When famous people pass away the media shares whatever information is available. Sometimes you can learn something about estate planning when you hear about the successes and failures of high profile individuals.
There are a couple of things that can be learned when we examine the estate of James Gandolfini. For one thing, we know quite a bit about it because he used a will to state his final wishes, and it is being probated. Probate records are public.
Those who would like to keep the details of their final affairs out of the eyes of the public may want to arrange for asset transfers outside of probate. This is one of the lessons that we can take away from this case.
The value of the actor’s estate has been estimated at approximately $70 million. Of course there will be additional income streaming in for years as his work continues to be aired.
According to reports Gandolfini did little to position his assets with estate tax efficiency in mind. The maximum rate of the federal estate tax is 40%, and as a resident of New York his estate will be subject to the estate tax on the state level as well.
Without question, those who are in possession of significant wealth must take steps early on to position their assets in a tax efficient manner. Since Gandolfini did not do this, the powers that be may be consuming some $30 million of his $70 million estate.