• Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-12-2018, 09:42 AM
    Such a trust would be "contractual" only of it's irrevocable, which may not be a good idea. If the estate is large enough the creator of the trust could owe gift tax because he would have made a completed gift of the future interest in the property, and many people don't want to incur such a tax. In addition, the property owner may wish to change his mind later on and leave his estate to someone else. There are many ways to avoid dying intestate. But some people don't want to think about their own death, and as a result they don't plan for the disposition of their property. The issue is what happens if someone doesn't specify who is to receive his property after he dies. In the real world, each state has enacted intestacy laws that spell out who gets the property -- usually spouses and children. But in the absence of government, who is entitled to the decedent's property -- the first one to grab it?
    11 replies | 1834 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-11-2018, 08:14 AM
    Not necessarily. If a decedent owned securities worth $15 million that he paid $1 million for, the $14 million gain has never been taxed. A will isn't a contract. It is simply an expression of one's desires regarding the disposition of his property on his death that the government will enforce if the will is prepared and signed with certain formalities. Inheritance has always struck me as one of the weaknesses of anarchy: with no government, who determines who gets a decedent's property, especially if there's no will (whether a will should be enforced is a question for another day)? It's hard to see how a dead person can have rights, so if the property that belonged to a decedent while he was alive is simply confiscated by the first person to take possession (like the scene in A Christmas Carol where Scrooge's possessions are taken by his charwoman, laundress, and undertaker), who's in a position to complain? Yes, there are ways to avoid this situation (e.g., lifetime gifts of future interests), but people don't always plan ahead like they should.
    11 replies | 1834 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-04-2018, 02:16 PM
    No, but thinking that all Muslims follow sharia law to the letter is about as accurate as thinking that all Christians follow the Bible to the letter.
    118 replies | 2835 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-04-2018, 09:42 AM
    That sounds very much like what JFK's detractors said -- "He won't uphold the Constitution; he'll take orders from the Vatican!"
    118 replies | 2835 view(s)
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We have long had death and taxes as the two standards of inevitability. But there are those who believe that death is the preferable of the two. "At least," as one man said, "there's one advantage about death; it doesn't get worse every time Congress meets."
Erwin N. Griswold

Taxes: Of life's two certainties, the only one for which you can get an automatic extension.
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