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An Expensive Dog Fight

Bigstock-My-Money--65250304Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons, left his dog in the care of a friend when he passed away. That has led to a fight over how much money the friend claims to need to care for the dog.

People love their dogs, and Sam Simon was no exception. He had a rescue dog named Columbo and spent a small fortune on regular medical and therapeutic treatments for the dog. This included twice weekly acupuncture treatments at a monthly cost of $3,640.

Simon passed away earlier this year after a struggle with colon cancer. Most of his fortune was put in trust to be used to promote animal rights. Columbo, however, was given over to Tyson Kilmer, an animal trainer and Simon's friend. Now Kilmer and the trust that Simon created are in a bitter dispute over money to pay for the dog's care.

Kilmer claims that he needs $140,000 a year to maintain the same treatments that Simon gave Columbo. He claims that the trust refuses to give him the funds. The trust has a different story.

Its position is that it has offered appropriate funds to Kilmer, but that under the terms of the trust and the law it cannot give him whatever he wants. It also claims that Kilmer has asked for outrageous sums and that an alternative caretaker for the dog is willing to care for it for free.

The Daily Mail has more on this story in "Estate of late Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon locked in a bitter battle with the new owner of his beloved dog who says he has not received annual allowance to care for the canine." For now it appears that this dispute is only playing out in the press. It remains to be seen whether it will make it to court.

If you have a pet and want to make provisions for its care at your passing, then contact an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss a pet trust.

For more information about estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: Daily Mail (October 1, 2015) "Estate of late Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon locked in a bitter battle with the new owner of his beloved dog who says he has not received annual allowance to care for the canine."

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Happy Birthday Estate Tax!

Bigstock-Person-Hand-Using-Calculator-W-89423339One of the more controversial federal tax provisions recently reached a significant milestone. The estate tax is now 100 years old.

Once a tax becomes a century old, it might seem reasonable to assume that everyone agrees that it is a good thing. However, that is certainly not true of the estate tax.

Its existence is likely to play a role in the 2016 Presidential election, just as it has in every recent Presidential election. Republicans continue to call for the abolition of the estate tax, while Democrats ask that it be strengthened.

The two sides could not be further apart on the issue.

Republicans believe the tax hinders small business and family farmers, while Democrats believe the tax is important for revenue and to mitigate wealth inequality.

Forbes reported on the estate tax’s birthday in a recent article, “Estate Tax Hits 100th Birthday And Paul Carron Calls For Many Happy Returns.”

Whatever your own thoughts are on the estate tax, it might be worthwhile to reflect on what it means that it has been with us for 100 years. It could mean that once a law is in place, even a bad law, that it is very difficult to get rid of it. It could also mean that the estate tax has become an integral part of our society.

The two ideas are not mutually exclusive.

It is possible that in another hundred years, Americans will still be debating over the estate tax and whether it should exist at all. We do know that this is an issue that is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.

For more information about estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: Forbes (September 15, 2015) “Estate Tax Hits 100th Birthday And Paul Carron Calls For Many Happy Returns.”

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