Wednesday, November 14, 2018

If It Is Not One Thing, It Is Something Else

Your chances of death rated by activity. Climbing in the Himalayas is definitely a death wish, as is base jumping (and its cousin, wing suit flying). As a cyclist, I am bummed out to see the somewhat high risk of death for cycling.

Be careful out there. And prepare a will.


Source: besthealthcaredegress.com
License: Fair Use/Education

Friday, November 2, 2018

TML Again

I subbed for Paul Daugherty's The Morning Line blog in the Cincinnati Enquirer again today. I touched on some recent sports deaths and firings, the basketball jerseys honoring Prince, and reviewed my favorite book of the year. I hope you enjoy it.


Photo Credit:  Unknown
License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Tasered and Confused

A local story has a probate court angle. The City of Cincinnati has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by an 11 year old shoplifter who was tasered after running from an off duty police officer. The young girl, who had been caught and warned previously for stealing from the same store, had $53 of stolen merchandise on her. She will receive $220,000 from the city and $20,000 from Kroger for the indignity of being tasered.

Several points and one prediction:

1. Because the girl is a minor, the settlement will be subject to probate court supervision until she turns 18.

2. Funds may only be spent with the approval of the probate court and then only for her mental health to overcome the trauma of being tasered.

3. She will have unrestricted access to the funds when she turns 18.

4. Call it more than a hunch that the number of shoplifting incidents at Kroger without repercussions will increase dramatically.


Photo Credit:  Albert Cesare/Cincinnati Enquirer
License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Not Misty's Foal

At the risk of becoming CNN and MSNBC and reporting all President Trump all of the time, Stormy Daniels released a memoir last week titled "Full Disclosure. " I could not care less about her relationship with President Trump 12 years ago, but I am interested in her describing her recording her "last will." After the Wall Street Journal reported the existence of her non-disclosure agreement with President Trump, Daniels received threats which caused her to describe on video her insurance policy and her wishes with respect to the distribution of her assets.
A few points:
1. Most wills must be written and witnessed.
2. Oral wills are not recognized in most states.
3. Ohio only recognizes oral wills made upon one's deathbed and written down within 10 days.
4. Sad that an attorney who wants to become President represents a woman who cannot properly prepare a will.


Photo Credit:  St.Martin's
License:  Fair Use/Education (cover of book discussed)  

Thursday, October 4, 2018

You Say Tomato, I Say Tomahto

The New York Times just published 15,000 words about the estate and gift tax strategies President Trump’s father, Fred Trump, used to transfer his billion dollar real estate empire to his children more than 20 years ago. NYT reporters accessed public records and had others provide them confidential documents such as estate and gift tax returns. The point of the NYT piece is to disprove President Trump’s claim that he is a self-made man by claiming he received $413 million from his dad. They do not note that represents only 1/7 of his current net worth as reported today by Forbes.
A few points:
1. Even though the NYT used the terms “tax dodger,” “sham,” "dubious schemes," and “improper,” to describe Fred Trump’s planning, the actual planning strategies he used were legitimate.
2. Fred Trump utilized valuation discounts and special trusts called GRATs to greatly reduce the gift and estate taxes owed on the transfer of his assets to his children.
3. Any impropriety on the transfers is due to the appraisal values for the real estate which seemed low in light of later sales.
4. Try as the NYT might to implicate President Trump in any impropriety, any wrong doing belongs to the person making gifts, i.e. Fred Trump, not the person receiving the gifts.
5. Am I the only one to notice that only confidential tax returns of Republicans are leaked to the press?


Photo Credit:  Trump Campaign via NY Times
License:  Fair Use/Education (in linked article)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

This Happens Once In a Career

Elaine Chao, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, used my conference room today while waiting for a meeting to start down the hall. She was in town to discuss transportation issues with Congressman Chabot and representatives from Uber, Red Bike, and the Chamber of Commerce among others. She and her staff were incredibly gracious.


COPY

Robert Indiana, the artist known for the iconic pop art image, LOVE, died in May at the age of 89. Mr. Indiana had moved to an island off the coast of Maine in 1978 where he continued to generate highly derivative images of his most famous piece, including HOPE for President Obama’s 2008 campaign.

For the last five years of his life, Mr. Indiana paid a caretaker $250K annually to assist him. He also gave the caretaker power of attorney. The caretaker withdrew over $600K from Mr. Indiana’s bank accounts supposedly at his direction.

The estate is supposed to turn Mr. Indiana’s dilapidated house into a museum to display his works. The estate is now embroiled in litigation over the withdrawn cash and whether Mr. Indiana was actually producing new art at the time of his death.

A few points:

1. Situations involving wealthy elderly individuals with no close family are always difficult because there is so much potential for financial exploitation.

2. Sometimes the caretaker is the best person to serve as attorney in fact if there are no relatives and the individual has outlived all of his friends.

3. Still, $600K of withdrawals for an individual living on an island off the coast of Maine with no place to spend the money seems excessive.

4. The last thing our country needs is another remotely situated vanity based museum dedicated to an artist of modest reknown.

5. AC/DC apparently copied Mr. Indiana’s playbook of recycling/copying prior work to earn great wealth.




Photo Credit:  Johnsonville Sausage 
License: Fair Use/Education (from linked article)