When someone passes away, their money and other assets have to be transferred to their heirs and surviving family members. This can often cause disputes to arise between those family members, especially regarding how much they should have to pay in taxes.
For example, take a look at the recent passing of novelist Tom Clancy. As a writer, he had terrific success, accumulating an estate that is valued at roughly $83 million. Not only does this money come from the sales of millions of his books, but from the success of the movies that were made from those books and from the video game series.
Clancy and the woman he was married to at the time of his death had one child together. However, the writer had been married once before and had four children from that marriage.
A dispute has now started over who has to pay the taxes, which could run up to around $16 million. Originally it was determined that his wife would need to pay $6 million of it, but her legal team now says that Clancy had altered the way that his will was set up so that she wouldn't need to. They claim that he did this just months before he passed away, and they say that the four children from his first marriage will need to pay instead.
When writing out a will in New Jersey, estate tax planning is something that has to be considered. It is important to know what options you have and to know what legal position that will put your heirs into when the will is being executed.
Source: LA Times, "Tom Clancy's $83-million estate prompts family tax dispute" Carolyn Kellogg, Sep. 18, 2014