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James Gandolfini's estate administration is a tax nightmare

Texas fans of "The Sopranos" may have already heard that James Gandolfini died of a heart attack recently. As his family grieves his loss, they also have to deal with what will happen to his estate. Preliminary reports have indicated that the way Gandolfini's will is drafted; the estate administration will be a tax nightmare for his family.

Approximately 80 percent of his estate was left to his nine-month-old daughter and his sisters directly. That means that estate taxes, which can reach up to 55 percent, would be due on their shares. By law, the family will have nine months to pay the taxes unless they are granted an extension. Gandolfini's estate is estimated to be worth upwards of $70 million plus royalties from his acting career. That's a tax bill of about $30 million.

Even with an extension, the taxes would still have to be paid. Moreover, most people don't have $30 million in cash, so the family will have to convert assets to cash in order to pay the bill. It is doubtful that Gandolfini meant for this to happen.

Not all estate administration has to be this way. There are ways to structure an estate in order to ensure that family members that will benefit from an estate won't have to pay much, if anything, in estate taxes. People in Texas who want to leave their estate to their family, but limit how much their family will pay in taxes, may find it beneficial to seek advice and assistance in drafting documents that will properly protect those assets.

Source: Source: New York Daily News, "James Gandolfini will a tax 'disaster,' says top estate lawyer," Dareh Gregorian, July 5, 2013

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