Ben Franklin on Death & Taxes

Last summer when my husband and I were completing our estate planning, along with umpteen medical powers of attorney, I thought about what Benjamin Franklin said: "In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes." Because we're responsible people who don't want our children to have to guess what they should do with our assets, we took away the guesswork.

Will Rogers Weighs In

That's a good thing because another American original had something to say that has a bearing on our assets too. Humorist Will Rogers put his own slant on Franklin's words, making them even more appropos to our modern world. "The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets."

Thanks for the grin, Will. Sometimes we taxpayers feel as if all we have left after April 15 is a grin. But, you know, there are ways to pay Uncle Sam and protect your assets.

Some Day

My mother has been discussing what she wants done "some day." You know the day she's talking about. Unlike me, she refuses to take her concerns to a lawyer who can help her with estate planning. Why? I guess it's superstition. Lawyers probably have a good understanding of the psychology behind some people's hesitance in making final financial preparations.

Instead of trying to use logic on my mother (trust me, that never works!), I've got where I gently steer her in the direction of good information. Thank goodness for the Internet.

Wealth Preservation

I was able to let her learn for herself about Personal Asset Protection, also known as wealth preservation. Now, my mom is not wealthy by any means, but she and my dad worked hard all their lives. He's passed on, and my mom wants to leave a legacy to her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Not to Uncle Sam, as much as she loves him.

Upper Income Has Different Needs

My mom is an amazing lady with an inquiring mind. She still likes to learn so she even read up on offshore asset protection. Trust me on this. She's not in that tax bracket at all, but she said she was going to tell her arthritis doctor that she has a new understanding of the special challenges facing him in planning for financial security.

She asked me if I thought she should recommend Deferred Variable Annuities, what some call a tax haven to him. My mouth hung open in surprise. Maybe I'd better go read some of the articles she's been reading.

That's my mom. Always trying to help other people out. Always surprising me.

Takeaway Truth

If you're a writer, copyrights are intellectual property that are assets. They should be covered in a will along with your research materials and other papers. If you don't at least have a will, what are you waiting for?

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