Thursday, September 22, 2016

Your Money Is Ours

Hillary Clinton announced an updated estate tax proposal today. After previously supporting an increase in the estate tax rate from 40% to 45% and decreasing the amount of tax free assets to $3.5 million, she now wants to tax estates exceeding $10 million at 50%, estates exceeding $50 million at 55%, and estates exceeding $500 million at 65%. She also wants to remove the stepped up basis provision for estates so appreciated assets would also be subject to capital gains tax at death.

Two quick points without being too political because the proposal speaks for itself:

1. Apparently Hillary believes the Senator Warren adage that "you did not build this" so we are going to tax it mantra.

2. No word from her billionaire buddies Soros, Zuckerberg, Gates, and Buffet on how they feel about the government possibly taking 65% of their wealth and, frankly, I don't give a damn about them.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Old Adult Fiction

A former University of New Hampshire librarian who lived frugally, left his entire $4 million estate to the university. The UNH promptly fulfilled his mostly unrestricted bequest by allocating $100K to the library where he worked (some might say toiled) for 50 years, $1 million for a video scoreboard for the football stadium, and $2.5 million for the career center to presumably assist students with worthless majors like women's studies, anthropology, and fine arts find jobs other than as baristas. 

Several points only marginally associated with estate planning: 

1. By leaving his entire estate to charity, the former librarian will not incur state or federal estate tax. 

2. Even though he spent the last year of his life in an assisted living facility watching (and finally learning about) football, I highly doubt that he would approve of UNH spending $1 million in his name on a video scoreboard for their minor league football team (avg attendance 6,000 last year). I doubt the absence of a video scoreboard is keeping people away. 

3. Although assisting students with job placement after they selected useless majors is a questionable use of one's savings, it is no less worthy than leaving money to a library in the 21st Century when most functions of a library are available on on-line (except for providing a physical warm or cool space for the homeless during the Winter or Summer).


Thursday, September 8, 2016

TML Again

I wrote Paul Daugherty's The Morning Line blog again today. I covered UC's Big 12 candidacy, Notre Dame's quarterback situation, and myriad other topics including Bruce Springsteen's forthcoming autobiography. I hope you enjoy it.



Monday, September 5, 2016

Meanest Man Begets Mean Daughter

Sam Huff is an NFL Hall of Fame linebacker who played for the NY Giants and Washington Redskins. He was known as the Meanest Man in the NFL during the 1960's. He is long divorced,has lived with Carol Holden for nearly 30 years, and now suffers from dementia. His daughter picked him up one morning in late March to take him to a dentist appointment and has not returned him to his home. Some might call this kidnapping. The daughter then took him to an attorney to have herself appointed as his health care decision maker (she was already his financial decision maker) and her mother, Huff's ex--wife, as the alternate. She also asked a court to appoint her as his guardian.
Several points:
1. The prior structure of Huff's health care and financial powers of attorneys was what I usually recommend in a second marriage situation - the spouse/partner can make the medical decisions but the child can make the financial decisions.
2. The validity of Huff's new health care power of attorney is certainly questionable given his dementia diagnosis which is further evidenced by him naming his elderly, ex-wife as his alternate decision maker.
3. I am always disappointed at the vitriol that children have towards the second spouse/partner of their parents no matter how long they have been together.
4. It is no surprise that the Meanest Man in the NFL would would have an incredibly mean daughter.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

What Happens in Vegas, Stays In Vegas?

Las Vegas billionaire Kirk Kirkorian died last June a the age of 98. His $2 billion estate has been subject to litigation since his death. A young woman who claimed to be his daughter, but was proven long ago to be the child of the notorious lothario Steve Bing, recently settled her challenge to Kirkorian's will. Non-paternity notwithstanding, Kirkorian paid $50,000 per month in child support to Kira Bonder until she was 10. As part of her mother's divorce settlement with Kirkorian after their 30 day marriage, Bonder was supposed to receive $7 million in trust upon Kirkorian's death. Nonetheless, she challenged that provision and settled for $8.5 million.
Several obvious points:
1. As the daughter of another man, Kira Bonder was not entitled to any of Kirkorian's estate so challenging a bequest seems to be without legal merit.
2. For Bonder's sake, I hope that the attorney who handled the will contest charged her based on time spent or on contingency for the increase from $7 million. It would not be fair to her to have to pay him a percentage of the $7 million she was promised and provided.
3. The first dollar Bonder receives from Kirkorkian will likely be more than she ever receives from her biological father who also contentiously fathered a child with Elizabeth Hurley.
4. What happens in Vegas is not necessarily applicable to the rest of the U.S.

Monday, August 22, 2016

This Never Works, So Why Try - Redux

A Penn State professor was allegedly murdered last week by the woman to whom he offered shelter and her friend. The professor was allegedly pushed off a cliff because he had recently revised his will and they thought they would benefit from his death. The woman was also miffed because he had criticized the parenting of her child. One of the reasons cited by the police in their arrest of the couple was they were "known drug users."

 One legal point and two "I can't believe this" points":

1. Most states, including Ohio and Pennsylvania, have "slayer statutes" which preclude murderers from benefiting from the will of someone they murdered.

 2. It is incredibly presumptuous of the woman and her friend to assume that they were named as beneficiaries of the professor's new will.

 3. If "known drug user" is a marker for a criminal, then half of the adult population of Colorado are suspects for crimes there.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Two Words, George. Pre-Nup.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard settled their divorce case this week for $7 million which Heard has pledged to charity. She had reportedly been seeking spousal support and half of his net worth as a result of their 15 month marriage. During the proceedings, Heard alleged that Depp had abused her. The couple did not have a pre-nuptial agreement.

Several brief points:

1. Depp should have insisted on a pre-nuptial agreement which could have provided that he owed Heard nothing in the event of a divorce.

2. The absence of a pre-nup does not entitle Heard to half of Depp's net worth, but only to what he earned during their 15 month marriage.

3. Anyone making bets on the length of a marriage between a hard partying heterosexual male and a declared bi-sexual woman 20 years younger than him should always take the under.

4. I have long told Janice that her crush on Depp was misplaced. I might finally be vindicated for that opinion.