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Sept. 27, 2013

When actor James Gandolfini passed away in June, he left behind an impressive acting legacy, and a sizable estate.

Most people remember Mr. Gandolfini for his breakthrough role as Mob Boss Tony Soprano on the award winning HBO show “The Sopranos.”

Tony Soprano obsessed about succession planning for the Mob and making sure his family was taken care of in the event he was “knocked off.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Gandolfini should have learned some lessons from Mr. Soprano.

Fame and fortune aside, Gandolfini died suddenly at a young age leaving behind a wife and two children. His youngest child was his daughter who was only 9 months old when he passed away.

Gandolfini was only 51 years old and his career was still going strong at the time of his death.
Mr. Gandolfini had a lot to live for, but he failed to adequately plan for the future.

As a result of the failure to properly plan, the Gandolfini family had to endure two tragedies in one day: the loss of the family patriarch and the estimated loss of nearly 50% of his $70,000,000 estate to the IRS because of taxes.

As a result of poor planning, the IRS became the single largest beneficiary of Gandolfini’s life’s work.

It took Mr. Gandolfini decades to amass his level of wealth and in one day, he lost approximately $30,000,000 to taxes. Even a relatively simple estate plan could have gone a long way to mitigate those losses.

Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common.

An estate plan is a critical component to any financial plan and it is a necessity long before your net worth reaches millions of dollars.
The cost of creating a plan pales in comparison to the emotional and financial cost of not having a plan.

The amount of money you leave your family is important, but your legacy is deeper than just a monetary value.

How many hours of your life have you spent away from home, working at your job, or building your business to create a better life for you and your family? The thought of giving half of everything to the tax collectors should not give you or your family any comfort.

Estate planning can help you maximize what is left for your family.

The main reason my wife and I addressed our own estate plan had nothing to do with money; it was naming a guardian for our children. If the unthinkable happened, the thought of the court system deciding who will be the guardian of our children is a reality that I will not accept.

Why should you accept this?

Most likely, estate planning isn't second nature to you. Let's put all of those things aside for a moment and get back to the basics; the reasons for implementing an estate plan.

So often the topic of estate planning is filled with financial and legal jargon and it can be overwhelming, uncomfortable or even nauseating for many people.

As a financial professional who works very closely with estate planning attorneys on these matters, so many issues can be resolved by following simple guidelines.

Here are some sample questions you can ask yourself about your family:

Do you have children or a significant other(s) who are dependent on you?

How will it affect their lifestyle if you are no longer here?

If something happened to you, who controls what happens to your possessions?

Here are some sample questions you can ask yourself about your business:

Do you own a business?

Do you have business partners?

Do you have life or disability insurance?
More important, is the insurance coverage adequate?

Do you have a succession plan?

If you are not prepared, you are not alone.

Fortunately, it’s not too late to make changes or plan for the unthinkable. It is not necessary for you to have all of the answers before seeking help.

Take the time to protect what’s important to you.

Please don’t be Tony Soprano.

Troy Owen
Global View Capital Advisors
N14W23833 Stone Ridge Drive, Suite 350-A
Waukesha, WI 53188-1126
Mobile: (414) 208-7757

Securities and advisory services offered through The Strategic Financial Alliance,
Inc. (SFA), member FINRA | SIPC. Troy Owen is a Registered Representative and an Investment Advisor Representative of SFA. Supervising office 262-650-1030. Global View Capital Advisors is otherwise unaffiliated with The Strategic Financial Alliance, Inc.

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