Dead Hands: A Social History of Wills, Trusts, and Inheritance Law

By Lawrence M. Friedman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
DEATH AND TAXES

LIVING PEOPLE have to pay an income tax on their earnings, year in and year out. They also pay sales taxes and property taxes. When a rich person dies, another cluster of taxes comes into play. The most significant of these “death taxes” has been the estate tax. The federal government imposes this tax on the estate, that is, on everything a person owned or controlled when he or she died—money in the bank, houses, stocks and bonds, as well as interests in “living trusts” and certain other assets.

The present estate tax has been part of federal law since 1916.1 There were two earlier attempts to tax the dead. During the Civil War, the federal government imposed an inheritance tax on bequests. This tax was repealed in 1870. The War Revenue Act of 1898 was the second federal death tax. It applied solely to personal property. Gifts to a surviving spouse were tax-free. Only estates over $10,000 were subject to the tax. The top rate under this law, on estates over $1 million, was 15%. This tax too had a short life. It was repealed in 1902.

The law of 1916 was destined to last much longer. In its original version, the first $50,000 of the estate was exempt from tax, and the top rate was 10% on estates over $5 million. This would probably be equivalent to an estate of about half a billion dollars today. Under this estate tax law, only big estates

-171-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Dead Hands: A Social History of Wills, Trusts, and Inheritance Law
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 231

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.