Which heirs have responsibility to pay estate taxes out of their portions of the estate is often a contentious issue. This is especially true in blended families as is illustrated by the fight over Tom Clancy’s estate.
When Tom Clancy passed away, his heirs included his wife and four children from a previous marriage. The bulk of the estate went to his late wife and the four children each received smaller shares. Clancy was a best-selling author whose books were often turned into blockbuster movies. Consequently, he was a very wealthy man. This meant there were estate taxes to be paid.
A recent Wealth Managementarticle, titled “A Clear and Present Danger,” reports that Clancy’s wife is suing the executor over the estate taxes. She alleges that the executor misapplied Clancy’s will and that it was written such that estate taxes were not to come out of her portion of the estate. Instead, she alleges the estate taxes were to be paid out of the children’s portions.
The most interesting aspect of this lawsuit is that the executor who is alleged to have misapplied the will is none other than the lawyer who drafted the will.
One lesson to learn from this case is that when planning your estate, you can often decide whose inheritance portion should pay the estate taxes. However, when blended families are involved, that type of decision is likely to lead to acrimony. It should, nevertheless, always be clear to your heirs what your intentions are and why. At a minimum, it needs to be clear to the executor and to the person who drafts your estate plan.
In this case, it is possible Clancy told his wife that his intentions were to do one thing, but that one thing was not communicated to his lawyer.
Reference: Wealth Management (October 3, 2014) “A Clear and Present Danger“
I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.
The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!
Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.
Josh Nelson, and his staff, have been amazingly helpful to our family. The ins and outs of nursing homes, the rules and regulations that govern Medicare and Medicaid are daunting and the folks at Nelson Elder Care Law have been informative, responsive, and above all, empathetic. I cannot emphasize enough how their service has taken a weight off of our shoulders especially during a world pandemic that has targeted nursing homes across our country. I highly recommend retaining Josh and his firm!
I had a simple legal question to them that I needed answered and they very helpful in giving me the information I needed. I highly recommend them and will reach out to them if I need more advice or assistance. Thank you for taking your time to just answer a couple of questions I had!