Mar 12, 2013

Hizzoner's will goes to probate

Mayor Ed Koch's last wishes were made public yesterday when his will was filed in New York Surrogate Court. Hizzoner died on February 1, leaving New Yorkers -- and millions of Florida transplants whose hearts are still in the five boroughs - missing one of New York City's most colorful characters. According to the Wall Street Journal, Koch's estate is estimated at about $11 million. He left the bulk of his assets to his sister, Pat Thaler, who he also named as Personal Representative (called an "executor" in New York) of his estate. His will also includes bequests to the LaGuardia and Wagner Educational Center at the City University of New York, to his longtime secretary, and to his late brother's widow. 

Koch's estate was not structured to avoid probate. Nor did he do the sophisticated planning that could have saved on taxes: his estate owes about $2 million in federal estate taxes and $1.5 million in New York State estate taxes. Given that Koch was an astute lawyer, one can surmise that he was well aware of the estate tax liability but chose not to take steps to keep the money out of the government's hands. A public servant to the end! 

Read more about Florida wills and probate here.

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