. . .
C “No one gave me anything. I worked for everything. I had three jobs and did not even get the minimum wage for one of them. They expect everything. They have already spent it many times over. I am not even dead yet. I feel that way. They act that way.”
L “I understand. You are among a small group who really did it the old-fashioned way by taking risk and working hard. And it is yours. In your eyes and in the eyes of the law. It is also your decision.”
C “I didn’t build my business out of a garage. I didn’t have a garage. We hardly kept a car on the road. We built it from our dinette table. They’ll sell that Formica® table for a few dollars at a yard sale. If they even have the gumption to have a yard sale. What if I don’t give it to ‘em?”
L “It is yours to give or not to give to them or to someone else.”
C “That would be givin’ it to ‘em. Know what I mean.”
. . .
L “Probate and estate issues like this are among the most frequent legal matters and concerns for older folks. Trillions of dollars are transferring to the next generation.”
C “I heard someone call it ‘entitlement’. I don’t know who’s entitled to my money, but I know it’s not those kids.”
. . .
L “Probate is not evil. However, probating a will is expensive, protracted and public. By putting your assets in a trust, you create a legal entity that survives you and eases transfer. The process is cheaper, shorter and private. Many trusts are designed not just to ease the transfer but to elude creditors and avoid taxes. Many of the trusts designed to avoid taxes are legal theft, but that is where America is in the arc of this country. This basic trust is simply a mechanism to make the transfer simpler with some tax portability and a layer of creditor protection.”
C “That all sounds good, I think. So you think it’s a good idea.”
. . .
L “You could set up a foundation. The goal is usually virtuous, yet the smaller personal foundations usually do little more than feed an ego and pay administrative expenses. The folks on the payroll are pleased to have the job and the paycheck. I was impressed that Warren Buffett did not establish his own foundation and instead gave most of his assets to the Gates Foundation. That approach saves on administrative costs and focuses efforts.”
C “What group should I give it to?”
L “Which group do you want to give it to?”
C “I don’t know. That’s what I pay you for.”
L “I am here to determine what you want to do.”
. . .
C “What if I give it to you. You said it’s mine to give to anyone I want to.”
L “With a very important proviso. You cannot give your money to your attorney who is obligated to represent your interests.”
C “Then I’m not absolutely free to give to anyone I want to.”
L “For these purposes, I am you. You cannot give it to yourself. And I cannot take it under rules that are in your best interest. For what it is worth, there was a time or two when you were reluctant to pay attorney’s fees that were earned twofold.”
C “I figure that if you are not able to make sure that you get paid then you are not able to make sure that I get paid. I’ll throw nickels around like manhole covers until the day I die. You know me.”
. . .
C “Those kids didn’t have to work very hard to be entitled to my hard-earned money. But they don’t want to work.”
. . .
[See the “e-ssays” under http://e-commentary.org/category/estate-tax/.]
Bumper stickers of the week:
Easy come, easy go; Hard come, easy go; Hard come, hard go.