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Estate Planning Paper Essay

Last year, November 2011. The world lost Andy Rooney. Andy Rooney, the “60 Minutes” commentator known to generations for his wry and humorous television essays died Friday in a hospital in New York City of complications following minor surgery. He was 92.

A will for Rooney has been filed in surrogate court in New York City. The will leaves the entire estate, which is comprised of $8 million in stocks, bonds and cash and $1 million in real estate, to Mr. Rooney’s four children, Brian Rooney of Los Angeles, identical twins Emily Rooney of Boston and Martha Fishel of Chevy Chase, MD, and Ellen Rooney of London. Mr. Rooney’s wife, Marguerite “Margie” Rooney, died in 2004. They had been married for 62 years.

Based on a statement from Mr. Rooney’s son Brian, apparently Mr. Rooney did not do any estate tax planning other than the will. In her article Julie Garber (Julie Ann Garber, Esq. is an experienced estate planning attorney a co-author of the book Estate Planning Strategies, Collective Wisdom, Proven Techniques Wealth Builders Press, (2009) state that, “Assuming that Mr. Rooney did not have many liabilities and no assets passed outside of his probate estate, then this means that his estate will owe approximately $1.4 million in federal estate taxes and $916,000 in New York estate taxes, leaving about $6.68 million for his children to split”

The home Andy Rooney has gone on the market in the Rowayton section of Norwalk. The 2,474-square-foot, four-bedroom, one-bath Tudor-style home was built in 1882 and is situated atop a hill, within walking distance of the village and train station. Rooney held on to the house while also having an apartment in New York It is currently listed by Prudential Connecticut Realty for $749,500.

The Beginning

In the first chapter of our reading on wills and estates we find that the law of wills are technical and differs from state to state it is risky to right a will because a layperson are usually not aware of legal terminology and could wind up risking the loss of valuables and money. Here Andy Rooney’s son states in the article by Julie Garber “When asked about his father’s estate, Brian Rooney said that his father lived “frugally” and “wasn’t into fancy estate planning.” The aforementioned quote would probably denote that since Mr. Rooney was frugal and not into FANCY estate planning he probably did the will himself. While leaving a great deal of money he probably would have been able to leave substantially more than his children would have received had he perhaps done a better job at estate planning and consulted with an attorney.

Estate Planning

Andy Rooney had several homes according to the article 2 in NY and one in Conn. Rooney however was domiciled in NY as this is where he worked and was his main residence. In addition Mr. Rooney passed away In NY the probate court would then be the NY court with jurisdiction to administer the decedent’s estate.

Rooney’s Wife had passed away leaving only the children as beneficiaries. It is more likely than not, that Rooney had not just probate property but also non-probate property to which his children are beneficiaries. Non-probate property would have been Mr. Rooney’s pension plan, Life insurance and IRA’s.

There are no issues that involve the intestacy as Mr. Rooney died with a valid will. Mr. Rooney had no illegitimate children. Because the will was delivered and processed by the probate court in NY there were no witness, age, signature or revoking of the will issues.

At the time of this article there the will has not been provided to the public. Therefore Payment of debts, clause are not made available the family will hold a private funeral service this week, with a CBS memorial at a later date, Emily said. Mr. Rooney will be buried in the family plot in Rensselaerville, N.Y., near his native Albany. Marguerite ‘Margie’ Rooney, his wife of 62 years, is also buried there. We assume that these were his funeral arraignments but not sure if these are covered in the will.

Family Allowance

Often the state will provide for the immediate support of the family when a breadwinner dies, state law generally contains a mechanism for immediate access to money from the decedents estate known as family allowance. In this instance Rooney has 4 children that survive him it is not clear that any of these children were being supported by their father to fall under the designation of breadwinner. Emily is the twin of Martha. Emily Rooney born 1950 is an American journalist, TV talk show and radio host and former news producer. Since 1997, Rooney has been the host, executive editor and creator of Greater Boston and the weekly Beat the Press on WGBH-TV, which are also later rebroadcast on the Boston-based WGBH radio station.

As of 2010, she hosts the Emily Rooney Show on WGBH radio. She has an identical twin sister, Martha, who is Chief of the Public Services Division at the United States National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland. Her brother Brian Rooney is a correspondent for ABC News. Rooney has one daughter, Alexis. Rooney’s husband, WCVB-TV reporter Kirby Perkins, died suddenly of heart failure July 1997. Here it is not likely that a family allowance will be necessary.

Exempt property

New York Law grants the family of a decedent the right to exempt certain property from the decedent’s estate. The purpose is to award essential necessities for continuing the family unit. Since the purpose is to assist the surviving spouse and children under 21. Here this does not apply to any of the Rooney children since all of his children were born in the 1950’s.


Trust are special arraignments laid out by settlor to the trustee for keeping to be disbursed to a beneficiary based on the terms of the trust agreement. The wording of the article didn’t specify the type of instructions of the will, however the words of the son “ His father was not a stickler for fancy estate planning” gives up a picture that there was simply a will and not anything more like a trust.

Personal representative

Since the will is not yet available to the public knowing who the personal representative is however we do know that his duties are to collect and preserves the assets of the estate pay the debts taxes and the expenses of the administration. He/ she must inform the heirs and devisees of the of the appointment within 30 days file inventory of the weate within three months, take possession and control of the decedents property for protection and management.

Probation of the will

The will was filed with the probate court in the allotted time to the NY surrogate court. The personal representative then waits to hear from the court to the accuracy and official recognition of the will. Once the personal representative hear back from the court if the will checks out the court will give the appointment to the personal representative gives him the legal authority to collect and preserve the assets.

One of the most important duties of the personal representative is to pay the taxes of the estate here is where the crux of the inheritance to the beneficiary is absorb as well. The personal representative must notify the internal revenue service, receive an EIN and then file the decedent final tax return. Mr. Rooney did create any more than a will so his assets are all taxable. This is why his son stated that if his father had been more careful with his estate planning that they would have had more money. The estate will have to pay out 1.4 million in federal taxes and $916,000 in New York estate taxes.

Real estate

According to the article Rooney left behind 3 different properties homes in New York City, Rensselaerville, N.Y. and Rowayton, Conn. The article states that the property totals 1 million dollars. The article listed that the estate taxes would equal out to 916,000 however the property is being sold for $749,500 because there was no previous estate planning minus the will the estate will still need the property on the tax return.

Stocks and bond

The article says that Mr. Rooney had 8 million dollars in stocks and bonds all of these stocks individually will be reported on the federal return under a schedule B form. The stocks must be listed in detail including price per share and anything concerning that stock including the CUSIP number for identification. The fair market value of the stock and bonds must be listed. Mr. Rooney’s estate will have to pay taxes for the 8 million dollars in stocks and bonds due to improper estate planning.


A federal tax return for Mr. Rooney must be filed within nine months after the date of his death if the gross estate is more than the amount prescribed for that year. The gross estate includes individually owned property. The taxable estate is the gross estate minus the obligations of Mr. Rooney. The net estate tax is computed by deducting the following from the gross estate tax: an applicable credit amount, state death taxes up to a certain limit, gift taxes paid before 1976 taxes paid on certain prior transfers and foreign death taxes.


Mr. was a frugal man that lived thru the depression and was very careful how he made and spent his money. He loved his children very much and was a very simple man and very simple in his planning for the future although he amassed a small fortune for his heirs, his poor planning has allowed the government to come down and swoop in and take a nice percentage that could have been sheltered through trust or special tax shelters that shield his assets that he worked so hard for. If have learned anything is one that a will is vital to the communication of assets after death and that proper estate planning can protect your assets from being squander, lost or misdirected.


Daily News Andy Rooney’s kids to split $9 million estate Monday, March 05, 2012, http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-03-05/news/31122336_1_andy-rooney-martha-fishel-million-estate

Norwalk Citizen, Tuesday, July 31, 2012 – http://www.norwalkcitizenonline.com/news/article/Rooney-s-house-goes-on-market-3469747.php#photo-2797363

Gordon Brown (2009). Administration of Wills, Trusts, and Estates. (Fourth). Thomson/Delmar Learning.

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