Safe Mode: On
Dying 13 hrs. too soon cost $3 mil in taxes

With 2010 the last year to cross the river Styx tax free, many who've amassed an estate over the last 30 to 40 years are faced with a grave decision:dying this year would save their families from crushing taxation that could leave many on the lower end destitute.
-
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/dying_hrs_too_soon_cost_mil_in_taxes_BrrG4ZRdNiP8cWI46Cr2gJ

Dying 13 hrs. too soon cost $3 mil in taxes
Comments: 53

By SUSAN EDELMAN

Last Updated: 12:37 PM, January 11, 2010

Posted: 1:13 AM, January 10, 2010

If Fritz Lohman had only known, he would have waited another 13 hours to kick the bucket.

Lohman, 87, a SoHo real-estate magnate who pioneered the exhibition of gay art, died at home at about 11 a.m. on New Year's Eve after a long illness.

If he had instead passed away after midnight Jan.1, his partner of 48 years could have avoided paying at least $3 million in estate taxes -- thanks to Congress letting that levy lapse for 2010.

"He would probably say, 'Why didn't they tell me? I could have waited another day,' " said Charles Leslie, 76, Lohman's business and life partner -- and the sole beneficiary to his $10 million estate.

"It's so utterly ludicrous," Leslie said. "You think you've done everything right, taken every precaution, and then by some congressional fiat your life turns upside down."

"What a difference a day makes -- literally," added Leslie's estate lawyer, Erica Bell.

Bell and others are shocked that Congress failed by the end of 2009 to extend the "death tax" in 2010 for the richest Americans. The rate is 45 percent of assets beyond the first $3.5 million.

Under current law, the estate tax is gone for one year, but will be reinstated -- and raised -- in 2011 for beneficiaries of more than $1 million.

"That means, if you have a choice and someone is probably going to die soon, it would be better this year than next," Bell said. "The joke is, 'Throw momma from the train.' "

She added, "This is not good public policy. There's something really wrong with a tax law that suggests when it's good to die."

But that dilemma tormented another New York family whose wealthy mother was terminally ill in December.

"The family could have put her on aggressive, artificial life support, with tubes and medical devices, until January 1, thereby saving $3 million in federal estate taxes," a source said. "The family chose the kinder path -- letting her die naturally and peacefully." She didn't make it to New Year's Day.

Leslie said his tax bills may force him to sell some of the SoHo commercial properties he and Lohman bought years ago, investments that made them a fortune. The debonair Lohman also ran a high-end interior decorating business.

Leslie is stoic about the irony of the timing of Lohman's death.

"You can't second guess things like that. We do not happen to life -- life happens to us."

PRINT EMAIL SHARE
Yahoo! Buzz
Digg
Reddit
Fark It
Newsvine
StumbleUpon
Twitter
Facebook
RSS If Fritz Lohman had only known, he would have waited another 13 hours to kick the bucket.

Lohman, 87, a SoHo real-estate magnate who pioneered the exhibition of gay art, died at home at about 11 a.m. on New Year's Eve after a long illness.

If he had instead passed away after midnight Jan.1, his partner of 48 years could have avoided paying at least $3 million in estate taxes -- thanks to Congress letting that levy lapse for 2010.

"He would probably say, 'Why didn't they tell me? I could have waited another day,' " said Charles Leslie, 76, Lohman's business and life partner -- and the sole beneficiary to his $10 million estate.


Charlie T. Photography
EXPIRED: Fritz Lohman (left), with partner Charles Leslie, failed to live past Dec. 31, when the estate tax lapsed.
"It's so utterly ludicrous," Leslie said. "You think you've done everything right, taken every precaution, and then by some congressional fiat your life turns upside down."

"What a difference a day makes -- literally," added Leslie's estate lawyer, Erica Bell.

Bell and others are shocked that Congress failed by the end of 2009 to extend the "death tax" in 2010 for the richest Americans. The rate is 45 percent of assets beyond the first $3.5 million.

Under current law, the estate tax is gone for one year, but will be reinstated -- and raised -- in 2011 for beneficiaries of more than $1 million.

"That means, if you have a choice and someone is probably going to die soon, it would be better this year than next," Bell said. "The joke is, 'Throw momma from the train.' "

She added, "This is not good public policy. There's something really wrong with a tax law that suggests when it's good to die."

But that dilemma tormented another New York family whose wealthy mother was terminally ill in December.

"The family could have put her on aggressive, artificial life support, with tubes and medical devices, until January 1, thereby saving $3 million in federal estate taxes," a source said. "The family chose the kinder path -- letting her die naturally and peacefully." She didn't make it to New Year's Day.

Leslie said his tax bills may force him to sell some of the SoHo commercial properties he and Lohman bought years ago, investments that made them a fortune. The debonair Lohman also ran a high-end interior decorating business.

Leslie is stoic about the irony of the timing of Lohman's death.

"You can't second guess things like that. We do not happen to life -- life happens to us."


Click to view image: 'e9b153776a22-nyp_logo_230x32.gif'

Added: Jan-11-2010 
By: HydrogenEconomy
In:
Other
Tags: tax, free, 2010
Views: 8690 | Comments: 14 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
You need to be registered in order to add comments! Register HERE