• Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    Today, 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?
    9 replies | 1508 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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.
    9 replies | 1508 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 | 2809 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 | 2809 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    11-13-2018, 08:37 AM
    "The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections... If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein." Justice Robert H. Jackson, writing the majority opinion in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943) "Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best, he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear his shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house." Robert A. Heinlein
    234 replies | 11993 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    11-13-2018, 08:22 AM
    The Constitution states that one of its purposes was "to form a more perfect union". It's a question of degree, not of kind. The status of the States under the Articles of Confederation was that of "a federation of self-governing republics which delegated a few powers" to the central government. But this model didn't work, primarily because the States wouldn't pony up their share of expenses. So they delegated more powers to the central government under the Constitution, especially the power to tax. True.
    5 replies | 706 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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