Six Lessons from a Soprano

Commentators of all kinds have taken to the Internet to dissect and discuss the will of late actor James Gandolfini. Most stories have zeroed in on the apparent tax disaster that was the set up of his will, however, there were many other aspects of the will that should have normal Americans double checking the terms of their own estate plans.

James Gandolfini
James Gandolfini (Photo credit: gdcgraphics)

A recent article lists six lessons to be learned from Gandolfini’s will:

  1. Keep it Private: The frenzy surround Gandolfini’s will never would have happened, had he transferred all of his assets outside of probate. A will, unlike non-probate transfers, is a public document.
  2. Use a Revocable Trust: These trusts are simple to create, and keep the terms of your plan private.
  3. Think Taxes, But Not First: It is important to remember that the most important part of estate planning is ensuring that your assets are transferred in the way that you want after your death. Consider taxes, but after this.
  4. Consider Tax Efficient Gifts and Transfers: These are a great way to avoid paying taxes. One common tax efficient transfer is taking out a life insurance policy and filtering the policy through a life insurance trust.
  5. Consider Children’s Ages Carefully: Consider at what age your children will be responsible to receive large amounts of money. You can create a trust to manage a child’s assets and distribute them at any intervals you choose.
  6. Foreign Property is Different: Remember that property in a different state will be governed by different laws.

For assistance in creating your estate plan, contact us at (626) 696-3145.

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