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) 

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 New York Times

License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

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.

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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)

The Morning Line Again

I subbed for Paul Daugherty’s The Morning Line blog in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Friday. I covered some moves by the Bengals, the UC-Miami game this weekend, and the Reds futility. I also commented on the shootings on Fountain Square on Thursday.  I hope you enjoy it.

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