Congresswoman’s Death Tax’s Saga a Lesson In Estate Planning- Courthouse News Service

Congresswoman’s Death Tax’s Saga a Lesson In Estate Planning- Courthouse News Service

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During her stint as South Dakota’s lone congresswoman, Rep. Kristi Noem has long told a story regarding the IRS crushing “death tax” on her farming and ranching family a moment after her father’s sudden death. However, court documents suggest Noem’s story is less a tale of the taxman commeth, and more about clumsy estate planning.

According to Robert Lord, a Phonenix tax attorney, (who has looked at probate documents of Noem’s father) Ron Arnold, Noem’s father, created a will in 1976, and failed to update it between 1981 and 1994. Based on better estate planning and the law back then in 1994, Kristi Noem’s family could have and should have had zero tax liability.

The Inside Story

More than 130 pages of estate documents, released by the first time Wednesday to a statewide public-access database and scrutinized by Courthouse news and two tax attorneys, reveal Noem’s family not only could have prevented estate tax in 1994 with a basic update to her father’s will, but also would not pay any inheritance tax if Ron Arnold died today.

As congressional Republicans clamor to reform the tax laws and further reduce the specter of the federal “death tax,” Noem has been telling her story to national media as an illustration of a greedy, difficult tax system. To Fox News, she called the estate tax “Immoral.” She told Huffington Post her dad “has done estate planning, he had had a will finished, but he hadn’t gotten it signed before his death.

However, documents tell a different story: Ron Arnold did have a will, signed in 1976, which gave a portion of his estate (half) to his beloved wife Corinne and the other half to a trust managed by his brothers. And had Arnold updated his will before his untimely death in 1994 to leverafe the 1981 spousal exemption, Noem’s family wouldn’t have paid any estate tax.

Arnold had an estate worth more than $2 million, with about two-thirds of that leveraged by expenses. And on the estate, Noem’s family did indeed settle an estate tax liability of $169,858. This wouldn’t have been so, if the right thing was done. Thus, this serves as a lesson not just to those who are yet to plan their estate, but to those who already have an estate plan in place.

What is Estate Planning?

Though common, not everyone knows what the term estate planning is. And this is because a huge percentage of people don’t see the importance in planning an estate. Estate planning is simply a plan an individual makes while alive for the management, distribution, and or disposal of their assets during their lifetime of after their demise.

Types of assets that can comprise of an individual estate include real properties (like buildings and lands), intellectual properties, cars, insurance, shares and stocks, banks accounts, including other personal properties.

It is very important that you contact an estate planning attorney Long Island and plan your estate as failure to do so may not necessarily affect you, but your family and those you care about. And this is because when you kick the bucket and you do so without a will, your assets will be shared based on the intestate laws of Long Island.

Need an estate planning attorney?

Planning an estate can be a complicated process. It involves a lot of paperwork and legal documents like power of attorney, trust, will, etc. Thus, if you want to plan your estate the right way, it is important that you contact a professional.

An estate planning attorney can help you in several ways. This professional can help you plan your estate and help you create the necessary estate planning documents. If you need to update your estate plan, this professional can be of help as well. Also, if you have concerns or questions, contacting an estate planning attorney is the best way to find answers.

We boast of competent estate planning attorneys who can help you navigate the tough estate planning process. Simple get in touch with our office so we can offer you or your loved ones our professional services.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The content of this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments. No attorney-client relationship is formed by reading this blog or contacting Morgan Legal Group.

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