Soprano Star’s Estate Plan Provides Valuable Lessons for Parents

James Gandolfini was made famous by playing a vicious mob boss who often resorted to violence to solve problems. In reality, the actor had a reputation for kindness and generosity, two traits that are apparent in his estate planning documents which provide ample support for both of his children.

Instead of providing an even split to his children, Gandolfini choose to provide his estate in what could be called a “fair” split. This means each child receives different amounts of the estate at different times and through the use of different assets. Basically, his estate provides the following:

  • Gandolfini’s son: Millions through a trust plus all of his father’s clothing and jewelry. Gandolfini’s teenage son will receive millions from a trust that was funded by a life insurance policy. The trust will be managed by a neutral third party. Trusts are very private, so the details of how the trust will be administered are not currently known. Often, the trust is designed to be managed until the beneficiary, in this case his son, turns a specified age. At that time, he would have full control over the assets held in trust.
  • Gandolfini’s daughter: Percentage of estate and beneficiary of a trust. Gandolfini’s newborn daughter reportedly receives a portion of his estate along with support from a trust. Trusts are very private legal documents and although the details of his son’s trust were made public his daughter’s is not.

Although providing for each child through an estate plan based on his or her needs may make sense, it can lead to discord and court battles. This is particularly true if the bequests are a surprise to heirs.

Increase odds of success when planning for your children’s future

Regardless of a family’s net worth, every household should have an estate plan. It can be relatively simple, with a will stating who gets what assets and appointing guardians for minors or the plan can be more complex, using trusts and gifts to help take advantage of tax savings.

Another valuable part of an estate plan when children are concerned is a life insurance policy. This policy can pay out to the children, spouse or a trust. A life insurance policy can provide a significant amount of money to help provide for young ones, helping to cover the cost of daily needs as well as potentially assisting to fund a college education.

Those who do not have an estate plan leave distribution of assets to state law. In order to better ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes, contact an experienced estate planning lawyer. This professional can help you determine which legal tools are best for your family’s needs.