According to a top estate lawyer, Gandolfini’s will is so poorly put together that at least $30 million (or 40 percent) of his estimated $70 million estate will probably go to the government due to various “death tax” laws.
William Zabel told the New York Daily News that the biggest reason Uncle Sam will take such a bite out of his estate has everything to do with how he left his fortune to his family.
“It’s a nightmare from a tax standpoint,” Zabel said.
The late 51-year-old’s biggest mistake was leaving 80 percent of his estate to his sisters and his 9-month-old daughter. This makes 80 percent of his estate subject to “death taxes” at a cringe-worthy 55 percent.
Even worse, that bill is due in nine months, meaning that the family has to start liquidating Gandolfini’s estate yesterday, and they’re not likely to catch a break.
“The government doesn’t accept the fact that it’s difficult to come up with the money you owe,” said Zabel, who has also represented George Soros and Howard Stern.
“They can get an extension of time to pay the entire amount, but they’re going to have pay a substantial amount in nine months.”
There are ways for the family to avoid fronting such a large tax burden, but it won’t be easy. One solution: They could renounce their shares in the estate altogether in exchange for some kind of payment down the road.
But it doesn’t look good any way you slice it.
“It’s a catastrophe,” Zabel said.
Do you think that James Gandolfini’s will could have been put together better?
[Image via: DFree / Shutterstock]