Hospitals & Asylums    





Real Estate Lawyers are Taxmen or Relatives HA-28-3-09




Tony J. Sanders


1.      Of the roughly 2 million people who die in the United States annually just over 35,000 will file estate tax returns after the passing of longest surviving spouse.  Fewer than half of these, about 15,000, will pay any estate tax whatsoever.  Despite the low number of taxpayers estate tax liability will total $23 billion, an average of approximately $1.5 million per taxable return.   The vast majority of estates in probate are worth less than $15,000.  It is difficult to calculate the total national value of the death transfer but it is probably around $100 billion annually.  In 2004 only 12 states reported their 2003 probate/estate caseloads to the Department of Justice in at least two of the four categories provided (guardianship, conservatorship/trusteeship, probate/wills/ intestate, and elder abuse). In those states, 66 percent of the cases involved probate/wills/intestate; 21 percent involved guardianship, and 13 percent involved other matters.


2.      The 666 page long Uniform Probate Code applies to (1) the affairs and estates of decedents, missing persons, and persons to be protected, domiciled in this state, (2) the property of nonresidents located in this state or property coming into the control of a fiduciary who is subject to the laws of this state, (3) incapacitated persons and minors in this state, (4) survivorship and related accounts in this State, and (5) trusts subject to administration.  The Uniform Probate Code was promulgated in 1969 and underwent major revision in 1990 by the Joint Editorial Board for the Uniform Probate Code.  As of 2009 16 states have adopted the UPC in its entirety, in some cases with significant modification – Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah.  20 states are required for adoption. 


3.      A will or other instrument of a testamentary nature involving property rights, that have not already been automatically transferred to a living person, shall be promptly delivered, upon the death, 
               to the proper court of record.  Armed Forces Retirement Home statute makes provisions for unclaimed property to be disposed of by the Home after a specified amount of time, estate sales are 
               an option for private individuals.  The statute recommends distributing the decedent's property, in equal pro-rata shares to the highest following categories of identified survivors (listed in the 
               order of precedence indicated) under 24USC(10)§420:


a. The surviving spouse or legal representative.
b. The children of the deceased.
c. The parents of the deceased.
d.The siblings of the deceased.
e. The next-of-kin of the deceased.

4.      Since probatable assets include only those assets that owned at the time of death, the simplest way to reduce their value is to give them away while still alive.  The most widely used strategy for avoiding probate is joint ownership.   Joint ownership applies to any type of property.  For a bank account it involves only the signing of a new Pay on Death (POD) signature card.  For real estate the preparation and recording of a new deed recognizing joint ownership.  For securities a cost-free change in registration of certificates or brokerage account.  Joint ownership can however be problematic because it can jeopardize an individual’s control over their assets because transfer into joint ownership cannot be undone without the consent of all joint owners and can give rise to the suspicion of motive.  There is a gift tax on up to half of the transferred of assets to joint ownership with people who did not contribute, other than a spouse. 


5.      To do death the poetic justice that will make common law at the Supreme Court, estate lawyers condemned to probate proceedings are directed to bequest excuse of the public office of Probate Judge and Court in the form of consideration of a change of his or her name to the Justice of Peace on the condition that they forfeit all responsibility for the adjudication and institutionalization of the mentally ill and make a good faith effort to pass the toxic substance patent test at their local public and private research institutions of higher education.  The formality of the occasion is graduation from the National College of Probate Judges with the law degree of Justice of the Peace.  Due consideration of the public policy ramification by the state legislature is also necessary to consider re-constitution of the court, statute and adjudication of mental illness by the social workers of the Mental Health Board of the Social Work Administration.  The National Conference of Commissioners of Uniform State Law should seriously consider updating the Uniform Probate Code to provide for the graduation of the Justice of the Peace with 111 new pages regulating the procedure pursuant to the adoption of the Uniform Probate Code and a slavery free Justice of the Peace.  This greatest of all liberations of justice will herald a new age of clear thought on mortality, peace and justice that will root out fatal errors and corruption, progressively resulting in a longer life expectancy, dedicated to the pursuit of universal and eternal life, liberty and happiness.  


Sanders, Tony J. Real Estate Lawyers are Taxmen or Relatives. Hospitals & Asylums. 77 pgs. HA-28-3-09