OK, so it cost his heirs around $30,000,000 (if he had a $70,000,000 estate and had his full $5.5M exemption and gave 20% to his wife, assuming the wife's comes after the exemption, that gives him a 55% tax bill on about $51M - so about $28.05M).
You have to hand it to the guy for (accidentally) helping out the budget deficits of both the U.S. and (I would assume) New York state!!!
Patriotic taxpayers, my friends, are what makes this country great.
Serious question though -- as noted in the article, there are so many ways to avoid the estate tax (leave to your wife, leave in a QTIP trust, provide a multimillion dollar life insurance policy), how come the estate tax always comes up as a big Republican Party talking point? Are there that many single people out there who are multimillionaires? Are there that many married people who cannot obtain qualified estate planning attorneys? Is it just that the rich GOP folk are tired of shelling out like $10,000 for a competent lawyer (my will and trust cost me $1,500, my parents' cost them like $900). Isn't the whole estate tax war just an enormous waste of time?
Billionaire Steve Forbes once ran for President and suggested a flat tax (I don't recall the rate, let's say 14%). When asked by the interviewer whether he was just proposing that 14% rate to lower his taxes, Forbes said, "I do just fine under the current system; don't worry about me." In other words - I don't pay any taxes anyway, I have lawyers and accountants.
Gandolfini's advisors did not seem to have quite the same motivation or directive as Forbes' advisors.