More than half of James Gandolfini’s estimated $70 million fortune, most of which he left to his wife, sisters and children, will be spent on paying taxes, an estate lawyer who reviewed ‘The Sopranos’ star’s will, told the New York Daily News.
"It's a nightmare from a tax standpoint," estate lawyer William Zabel said. He pointed out that Gandolfini’s biggest mistake was leaving 80 percent of his estate to his sisters and his children, thereby subjecting it to death taxes.
Under current law, if a person’s total estate is worth more than $1 million, it is taxed at the rate of 55 percent. This means more than $30 million of Gandolfini’s fortune will go toward paying taxes, which will be due in nine months, according to Zabel.
"The government doesn't accept the fact that it's difficult to come up with the money you owe. 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," Zabel told the publication.
Reviewing the document, Zabel said that though Gandolfini left only 20 percent of his estate to wife Deborah Lin, which is not directly subject to a death tax, even Lin could take a big hit. She would get only 20 percent of the $40 million left after taxes, instead of 20 percent of $70 million, once the assets are divided up after taxes, according to Zabel.
Gandolfini’s will was created on December 19, 2012, and the document shows that his son Michael, 13, will have access to most of the estate through a trust fund when he is 21. According to the Daily News, Michael’s inheritance includes a $7 million life insurance payout, which will not be affected by will's tax burden.
According to a CNN report, Gandolfini left $500,000 each to his nieces, Laura and Jenna Antonacci, while his assistant, Trixie Flynn Bourne, and friend, Thomas Richardson, will receive $200,000 each. He also left $100,000 for his godson, Robert Parish, and $50,000 each to friends Fatima Bae and Doug Katz.
Keerthi Mohan is an IBTimes reporter covering entertainment and human interest stories.