Actor James Gandolfini has left an estate of at least seventy million dollars according to the Daily News and other news outlets. While it is likely that Tony Soprano’s estate would have consisted of vast quantities of cash buried in various places about the state of New Jersey, his real life portrayer was a good deal more conscientious in creating what appears to be a complicated and effective estate plan.
A considerable insurance trust benefiting Mr. Gandolfini’s 13 year old son consists of at least 7 million dollars. An affidavit appended to his will indicates that his widow Deborah Lin and their 9 month old daughter are also provided for in a trust. Keeping in mind that Ms. Lin would be entitled to exercise her spousal right of election ($50,000 plus the next third of the estate) if she did not feel that she had been left an acceptable portion of her husband’s estate, it appears likely that she will be the recipient of sufficient ":testamentary substitutes" in lieu of an outright cash bequest.. Given that the Surrogate’s Court is a court of public record, it is most likely that all further developments set forth in court papers will be extensively brought to light . Your lawblogger suspects that we will learn about some very sophisticated tax planning which would have been totally beyond the scope of anything Tony Soprano would have dreamed up.