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View Diary: Meet Edith Windsor: 83 years old and taking her fight for equality to the highest court in the land (36 comments)

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  •  Marriage rights vs wealth? (1+ / 0-)
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    Hirodog

    My quick "back of the envelope" estimate is that a $363,000 estate tax bill translates into an estate of over $4.5 million.  So is she losing rights by the marriage not being recognized or failling to pay her fair share as a member of the 1%?

    •  Not necessarily (4+ / 0-)

      If a large portion of that estate was wrapped up in the value of the family home (not unusual these days when you consider how house prices have shot up), it would merely delay the payment of the taxes until her death, in which case her heirs would be on the hook for the taxes (and would be able to sell the home to help cover them).

      IIRC from when we went through this with my mom-in-law after my dad-in-law died back in 2010, the point of spousal exclusion is that the surviving spouse not be left impoverished or homeless. It's more a case of deferred taxes -- when my mother-in-law goes to join her beloved in Heaven, the estate is going to be responsible for the taxes before the assets are distributed. (Mr. Scribe is designated as the executor of the estate, but he doesn't have the head for numbers and legal stuff so I'll likely be doing most of the work.)

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 12:32:24 AM PDT

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      •  Add name to House Deed (0+ / 0-)

        Both spouse's names should be on the house deed which is something that can be done at any time.

        I'm having a hard time working up any sympathy for this women. There are endless legal ways to bypass Estate taxes such as Living Trusts and property held jointly that allow anyone to leave a fortune tax free to anyone. So while I agree that the Federal government should recognize her marriage, I am just not seeing her as the best face for marriage inequality.

    •  The idea behind the estate tax (6+ / 0-)

      (Besides revenue generation) is that each generation should have to make its own way. We don't want a permanent aristocracy like Britain has.

      So a significant portion wealth should be returned to society between generations. As Cali Scribe points out, the point is not to leave one spouse destitute.

      Besides, if they commingled funds like most married couples do, who's to say that Ms Windsor isn't being taxed on her own assets that just happened to be held in her spouse's name?

      I have several accounts in my own name. One of our cars is titled on only in my husband's. But we commingle funds and make no efforts to maintain separate property. So everything is both of ours, regardless of how it's documented. Why should any other married couple have a different burden than we do?  The Constitution guarantees equal protection.

      It's not about wealth preservation. It's about protecting a married couple's assets so that both have access to what both worked all their lives for. When they're both gone,  then the IRS can come and collect its share-- just like it will do when my husband and I kick off.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 01:31:45 AM PDT

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