With the upcoming transfer of wealth, rights of inheritance will become an increasingly prominent issue. Leona Helmsley’s $8 billion dollar estate being left largely for the care and welfare of dogs has prompted considerable controversy.
As those of us affiliated with EstateofDenial.com actually prefer dogs to most people, we’re still looking for the down side. But seriously, why should any individual or government have the power to create an Involuntary Redistribution of Assets (IRA) upon anyone’s death? An attempt to do so directly violates property rights and individual liberty once considered basic premises of American life.
While many lawyers absolutely respect property rights including rights of inheritance, stories featured on EoD often highlight questionable conduct on the part of other attorneys. We view these estate looting actions to largely be motivated by greed and opportunism. Interestingly, however, an additional point of view put forth with regard to the Helmsley bequest indicates a socialistic attitude that public policy which fails to confiscate financial resources upon a person’s death causes harm to the larger body of citizens and is therefore flawed.
Check out the EoD News Archive for op-eds on this subject. An audio file of a great panel discussion on this topic is also posted in our Multimedia section. The panel made interesting and thought-provoking points regarding both inheritance rights and philanthropic issues. At EstateofDenial.com, though, our basic support will remain with the rights of an individual and respect for his/her final wishes.