What We Can Learn from Gandolfini’s Will

The recent death of “Sopranos” actor James Gandolfini has sparked a national commentary on the wisdom of his will. A recent article outlines several estate planning lessons that people should learn from Gandolfini’s will.

Foreign Property is Treated Differently
Gandolfini was lucky enough to own property in Italy. In his will, he left the Italian properties to his teenage son and baby daughter. The will states that the pair will not receive the property until the daughter turns 25 years old. Despite his wishes, Italian inheritance laws may override his wishes and give a portion of the property to his spouse. Although most people are not lucky enough to own property overseas, the same principal may apply for property owned in different states. Be sure to check the local inheritance laws where your property is located before disposing of it in your will.

Consider the Ages of Your Children When Disposing of Property
Many individuals in their early twenties or thirties are not responsible enough to receive and responsibly manage assets. When determining the distribution of your assets, consider at what age you believe your children will be able to handle their inheritance. If your children are to receive a sizeable inheritance, consider staggering it over your child’s adult life.